CHICAGO (WLS) -- We're in need of some cheer this year and Santa is here!
"We are thrilled to welcome back Santa in 2020," said Katie Walsh, Senior Marketing Manager at Fashion Outlets of Chicago.
At the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Santa and guests make sure to wear their masks and there is cleaning between guests for safe holiday fun.
We found some helpers setting the stage for Santa at Chicago Ridge Mall where the visits will also be contactless. The jolly elf suggested everyone makes a reservation so the guests can also keep their distance.
"This year will be a little different, that family and kids cannot sit on Santa's lap or sit next to him. There will be a physical barrier between them," said Chicago Ridge Mall General Manager Steven Yee.
And at the North Pole, Santa Larry is also getting ready for a different kind of visit. This season he has technical assistance from the elves to offer visits virtually.
"If I can land my sleigh on top of a house, I can do virtual Santa," he said.
In previous years, Santa Larry allowed little ones close so they could share their Christmas wishes and pose for photos.
Last year, Santa Larry stopped at the Museum of Science and Industry, but this year, Santa Larry is using a high-tech connection.
"I want to keep everyone safe so I have to do my part as well," he said.
Santa Larry reminds us that he hears Christmas wishes just well, as if he were in-person.
"Santa can talk with the parents, the children, the grandparents - everybody in the household during that time period," Santa Larry said. "They get a chance to spend some time with Santa, sometimes more than in the mall."
Santa Larry said this can be a teachable moment for young ones that sometimes things don't go as we'd like. This pandemic has offered all of us the opportunity to be open to new ideas.
"There are times in life when we have to adjust and this is one of those times when we have to adjust," he said.
So whether an in-person or virtual visit with Santa, it's not the distance that matters this year, it's the spirit. And finding new ways to make good holiday memories.
"Remember there's no place like home for the holidays," he said.