‘It’s a tradition’: in-person Santa visits return to Lethbridge


With nine days to go until Christmas, many in Lethbridge are getting into the holiday spirit with Santa photos.

“It’s great to be back,” said Santa on Friday.

With COVID-19 restrictions relaxed and no more social distancing, in-person visits have returned.

“Sometimes, you have to adjust to things and we’ve had to do Zoom calls and that’s how we’ve been able to keep in touch with a lot of the children around here,” Santa said.

“Zoom calls have been very good, but it sure is better to be back in person.”

This year also marks the first Christmas for some, including 10-month-old Mikah Orr, who was getting his photo taken on Friday.

Orr wasn’t quite sure what to think of his first visit with Santa, but for his mom, McKinley, it’s about more than just a photo – it’s reliving something she shared with her parents.

“It’s a tradition every year and it’s always been a thing for us,” McKinley said.

“I’ve been coming to see Santa for years, so it’s great to bring him.”

But it’s not just children getting in on the action – Santa says he’s had people of all ages making the trip to get their photo taken with him and share their Christmas list.

After visiting Park Place Mall for 28 years, the man in red made the switch to seeing families at the Movie Mill.

“It’s been wonderful seeing all the kids come back and seeing how much they’ve grown over the past year or two and I can’t believe how much fun we’re having this year,” he said.

Santa is continuing to do Zoom calls this year for those who may not feel comfortable seeing him in person or being in crowds.

There is still time to see Santa before Christmas.

“I’m here right until the 24th and then I have a big trip that evening and man, will it be busy that night,” Santa said.

“I’m sure looking forward to Christmas Day, when I can put my feet up and relax.”

Santa will be at the Movie Mill every day, 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, up until Dec. 24. 

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