Socially distanced Santa is the best thing to happen to Christmas

(From left) Mateo Johnson, 6, and Neah Johnson, 3, visit with Santa, who holds court in a snow globe December 6 in Seattle. Covid-19 safety measures have opened the door for rethinking how kids physically interact with Santa.

(CNN)The pandemic's silver linings have been few and far between -- reduced work commutes for some, no racist uncle at Thanksgiving and now socially distant Santa.

For all of you tearing out your hair over not being able to take pictures of your child on some stranger's lap at the mall, hear me out.
My 3-year-old has always been terrified of Santa. Forget about sitting on the guy's lap for long enough to snap a photo; he has convulsed with sheer terror at the mere sight of Jolly St. Nick ever since he was a baby.
    When I took him on "The Polar Express" ride last year, he loved the train and the kids and, of course, the cookies. When Santa, ringing his bell and laughing his belly laugh, came down the aisle of the train, though, my kid lost it. He cried and shook and turned beet red.
      For any parent who has tried to explain to a screaming 2-year-old why you can't jump from a moving train in the dark of night and ice and snow on the ground below to escape Santa, fun isn't the first word that comes to mind.
        I never tried to get my kid to take a picture with Santa. It would be like asking him to pose in a pit of hissing fanged snakes (he might think the snake pit was more fun).

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