Here is how local kids will be able to visit Santa Claus amid pandemic

Visits with Santa will look a little different in 2020 with more social distancing in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. LISA POWELL / STAFF FILE PHOTO
Visits with Santa will look a little different in 2020 with more social distancing in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. LISA POWELL / STAFF FILE PHOTO

Santa Claus still has his job to do, even during a pandemic.

Though Santa visits will look different this holiday season, there are still lots of places families and children can have a Santa experience to remember this 2020 holiday season.

Some Santa events are happening in drive-thru fashion, some virtual and some in-person with face masks and social distancing rules in place. While the Santa experience will be different without sitting on Santa’s lap or talking from a distance, the Christmas magic will still be alive throughout the Dayton area.

We will continue to update this guide as more Santa visits are announced throughout the Miami Valley and more specifics are shared.

Where to find Santa

Santa Claus talks with children at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in this file photo. This year, visits with Santa will be more socially distanced. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Santa Claus talks with children at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in this file photo. This year, visits with Santa will be more socially distanced. STAFF FILE PHOTO

🎅🏼The Mall at Fairfield Commons

Santa will welcome children at the Mall at Fairfield Commons to share their Christmas wishes in person, though contactless and observing social-distance guidelines.

Santa will arrive at Fairfield Commons on Friday, Nov. 27, and will be present through Thursday, Dec. 24, with the exception of Monday, Nov. 30, through Wednesday, Dec. 2.

“Reservations to visit Santa are strongly encouraged,” according to a statement from Fairfield Commons. “Walk-up visits will be available as space allows throughout the day. A contactless experience is possible if guests make reservations and purchase a photo package online.”

Santa will wear a face mask at all times and masks will be required for children ages 2 and up.

“Guests will have the opportunity to engage in conversation and take a photo with Santa while maintaining physical distance. In an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our guests and Santa, guests will not sit on Santa’s lap during their visit,” according to the statement.

Santa Claus visits with children at the Dayton Mall in this file photo. Children will not be able to sit on Santa's lap this year. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Santa Claus visits with children at the Dayton Mall in this file photo. Children will not be able to sit on Santa's lap this year. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

🎅🏼Dayton Mall

Dayton Mall marketing director Karen Brown said the mall is looking forward to welcoming Santa this year.

Santa will arrive at Dayton Mall on Friday, Nov. 27, and will be present through Thursday, Dec. 24, with the exception of Monday, Nov. 30 through Wednesday, Dec. 2.

“Reservations to visit Santa are strongly encouraged,” according to a Dayton Mall statement. “Walk-up visits will be available as space allows throughout the day. A contactless experience is possible if guests make reservations and purchase a photo package online.”

ExploreFrom the archives: Remembering the region’s enchanting holiday traditions

Santa will wear a mask at all times and masks are required for children ages 2 and up.

“Guests will have the opportunity to engage in conversation and take a photo with Santa while maintaining physical distance. In an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our guests and Santa, guests will not sit on Santa’s lap during their visit,” according to the statement.

Santa Claus is always the highlight of the Children’s Parade, the kickoff event each year to the Dayton Holiday Festival at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton. JIM NOELKER / STAFF
Santa Claus is always the highlight of the Children’s Parade, the kickoff event each year to the Dayton Holiday Festival at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton. JIM NOELKER / STAFF

ExploreDayton Holiday Festival to continue on, drive-thru style

🎅🏼Xenia’s Hometown Christmas

Children can experience a virtual visit with Santa during downtown Xenia’s Hometown Christmas event on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Virtual visits will take place in the Santa House, where children can pick up a stocking stuffed with activities including a DIY ornament kit, festive coloring page and crayons, a city-wide holiday scavenger hunt and other goodies.

🎅🏼Santa in Lebanon

There are several opportunities to see Santa in Downtown Lebanon this season.

At the Lebanon Holiday Illumination and Tree lighting Ceremony downtown on Nov. 27, Santa will be located in the gazebo next to the Golden Lamb from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

There are also four dates to take “social distancing pictures with Santa” in Lebanon. Pictures with Santa happen at the Bicentennial Park Gazebo at the corner of E. Mulberry St. and Cherry St.

-Nov. 28 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

-Dec. 5 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

-Dec. 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

-Dec. 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Visitors to Clifton Mill in 2020 will be able to peek at Santa working in his workshop. Staff file photo by Barbara J. Perenic/Cox Media Group
Visitors to Clifton Mill in 2020 will be able to peek at Santa working in his workshop. Staff file photo by Barbara J. Perenic/Cox Media Group

Credit: Barbara J. Perenic

Credit: Barbara J. Perenic

🎅🏼Clifton Mill Christmas Lights

With a little bit of patience, visitors at the legendary Clifton Mill Christmas Lights will get to see Santa about every 20 minutes when he takes a break from his workshop and comes outside to say hello to onlookers.

During the lights, Santa stays busy in his workshop prepping for the big day. However, guests can watch Santa check his list and work on toys through the workshop window.

ExploreClifton Mill confirms Christmas lights are still on this holiday season

Clifton Mill will open Nov. 27 and run through Dec. 30. The lights are open Sunday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Dec. 24, 25 — 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Gates open at 5 p.m.

A small child talks to Santa Claus during a past Woodland Lights in Washington Twp.
A small child talks to Santa Claus during a past Woodland Lights in Washington Twp.

🎅🏼Washington Township’s Woodland Lights

Santa will make a socially-distant appearance at one of Dayton’s most beloved and longest-running holiday attractions, Washington Township’s Woodland Lights.

Set to open to the public on Friday, Nov. 27, each night of operation through Dec. 23, guests will walk down a sparkling path that leads to a cabin decorated in lights and greenery, where Santa Claus will be waiting to welcome children to his sleigh.

ExploreBeloved holiday lights attraction announces changes for 2020 season

Santa is usually waiting to visit guests at the traditional Countryside Park Cabin. This year, Santa will have more room to socially distance from guests near the front pond.

Throughout the 2020 season, Woodland Lights will be open to guests Fridays through Sundays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. on Nov. 27 through Dec. 13. It will be open nightly from Dec. 18-27 and closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Tickets will go on sale for the 2020 season beginning Saturday, Oct. 31.

🎅🏼Troy Main Street

Executive director of Troy Main Street Andrea Keller said that Troy Main Street is still in the process of deciding what this year’s Santa visits will look like.

“We will have something with Santa but we will not have our typical Santa visits,” Keller said.

We will update this guide when Troy Main Street announces its plans.

🎅🏼Middletown’s Santa Parade

Santa will make his traditional appearance in the Santa Parade in Middletown on Nov. 28 at 4 p.m.

However, due to COVID-19, Santa will not be making his stop in the park for in-person visits. Social distance policies will be in place at the parade.

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