COLORADO SPRINGS — For all who are tired of social distancing, perhaps there is a lesson on empathy from the simple tradition of visiting Santa. There are kids dealing with medical conditions compromising there immune systems. Long before the pandemic they were at risk when out in public. The Colorado based Secret Sleigh Program sends Santa to homebound kids, but not this year.
A “Santa” also known outside the Christmas season as John, feels for the kids in 2020. "Doubly prone to viruses and germs and they're stuck in their houses." For several years he has gone to the homes of immune compromised kids to make sure they get some one-on-one time with Santa. “Sing, read some stories, talk about how things are going." And, of course they discuss Christmas wishes.
Secret Sleigh is always cautious and would never show up with any signs of sickness. During the 2020 pandemic it is too risky even with precautions. "I've had to make extra plans so that I could be able to visit these children who are probably, especially isolated this year." Turns out a surprise visit using on-line conferencing technology is not quite the same, but still exciting. “Who’s that, who’s that,” is often heard from kids in the background when a parent makes the video connection with Santa.
The kids get to see Santa with his workshop as the background. "They can see me. I can see them, but we're not exchanging, you know, germs." Santa’s known for bringing some holiday magic. This year there is an assist with video magic.
For kids and kids at heart wondering if COVID will hinder Santa deliveries this year, he reminds that middle of the night social distancing has always been a rule for his down the chimney stops. "If you're in your bed asleep then you are socially distanced from me." Just in case he says he will be wearing a mask.
The Secret Sleigh Program can be found on Facebook.