Santa visits go virtual as grottos close

Key worker: The Scottish government says Santa will still be allowed to work on Christmas Eve. © Alamy

Should Santa embrace modern technology? Pre-Christmas visits are cancelled due to lockdown. But video calls mean he can share the festive spirit all the way from the North Pole.

What’s happening

Lockdowns have been announced across the UK. For lots of people, that means working from home. One of them is Father Christmas.

Until recently, his calendar was filled with socially distant grotto visits and trips up and down the country. Now, he has had to change his plans.

Find out more

Luckily, technology has come in handy. Anyone can now book a virtual meeting with Santa, who has a live webcam set up in his North Pole office.

He has teamed up with shops and businesses across the UK to make sure nobody has to miss out. One company even offers the chance for a group Zoom with all the Elves as well.

Shops hope to welcome Santa back when lockdowns end. But no matter what the rules are, he will still be able to do his all-important job on Christmas Eve. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Santa counts as a key worker.

“Santa himself is not at risk”, she said, “he will be delivering presents across the world as normal”.

So, is it time Santa used modern technology on a regular basis?

Some say…

Yes! Santa could use video calls every year to contact the children who do not have a chance to visit. Plus, it would make his job easier. The world population is growing. Keeping track of gifts must be complicated. The Elves could use computers to help with organisation. Santa could even get an electric sleigh to give the reindeer a break.

Others think…

No. Using technology now is a brilliant way to deal with a bad situation. But nothing compares to meeting Santa in real life. He should not give up inviting children to see him before Christmas. Besides, using technology to speed things up in the North Pole might put Elves out of a job. Father Christmas would never allow for that to happen.

You Decide

  1. Would you rather visit the North Pole or invite Santa around for lunch?

Activities

  1. Make a background for a Zoom call with Santa. You can make a virtual background or create your own decorations to hang on the wall behind you.

Some People Say...

“Technology is best when it brings people together.”

Matt Mullenweg, social media inventor

What do you think?

Word Watch

Socially distant
Advice during the pandemic is to keep at least a one metre apart from people you do not live and wear a face covering in shops.
Technology
The use of knowledge to invent new devices or tools. Modern technology includes smartphones, computers and the internet.
Zoom
An online service people use to make video calls. Lots of families use it to keep in touch during lockdown. People also have work meetings and lessons using Zoom.
First Minister
The leader of the Scottish government. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have first ministers.
Key worker
Somebody whose job is essential – meaning they have to do it. Other key workers during the pandemic are nurses, teachers, bus drivers and doctors.
Population
The people who live in an area such as a town or city. The world population is the number of people who live in the world. That number is much higher than it was 50 years ago, meaning there are far more people expecting presents.
Organisation
The act of organising something. Computer programmes would help to organise which presents went to what people.

Subjects

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