INDIANAPOLIS – The Santa Claus family is reassuring Hoosiers that ol’ Saint Nick will make his rounds this holidays season, despite the ongoing pandemic.
CBS4 got an exclusive interview with Santa Rick, who runs the Northern Lights Santa Academy in Georgia. The academy, which boasts itself as the largest school for holiday performs in the Southeast, provides training for those who want to be Santa, Mrs. Claus or an Elf.
“We have people that come to the school from all over,” Santa Rick explained.
Santa Rick acknowledged the pandemic and admitted things will be different this year. The Northern Lights Academy has implemented a no-touch policy.
“No one gets to sit on Santa’s knee this year and no one gets to hug Santa,” he said. “We put out an incredibly strict set of rules and precautions for COVID because Santa has the opportunity to be the number one spreader.”
Santa Rick fears for the Santa family, saying many members are at high risk.
“Most Santas are over 65. They are overweight by at least 50 pounds. Many have other things that put them at risk like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems and sleep disorders. So, literally, when a Santa visits with you, he’s risking his life this year,” Santa Rick told CBS4.
Santa Rick explained why Hoosiers see so many Santas at malls and stores during the holiday season.
“The answer to why you see Santa here, there and everywhere is because Santa is here, there and everywhere! But the other reason is, Santa…his last name is Claus…and guess what? He has brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts and grandparents and they’re all clauses! We all look alike, just like many children look like their brothers and sisters and mommys and daddys and grandparents. It’s the same with the Claus family,” Santa Rick explained. “And I’ll tell you a Santa secret! All men, at a certain age, grow a beard and it turns white! As a matter of fact, even some of the women grow a white beard.”
With that, Santa Rick gave a big, “ho, ho, ho!”
“Santa loves you. And he might not be right in front of you, but he knows exactly what’s going on because I have a list and I check it twice!”
CBS4 asked Simon Property Group whether Santa would make it to any of their malls this year. A spokesperson confirmed kids could see Santa Claus at the Fashion Mall at Keystone, Castleton Square Mall, Greenwood Park Mall, and Hamilton Town Center. Simon Property Group promised to share “more information as the holiday season approaches.”