Technology helping Santa save Christmas

Roy's Folks

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — No question the pandemic has changed all of our lives, even for Santa.

“It’s a different season this year,” Santa Cliff Snider said. “I always have my mask, but we don’t have much of a problem here at the North Pole.”

Just like he has done for nearly six decades, Santa Cliff is busy getting ready for the upcoming holiday. It was Christmas 1962 when he first put on the Santa suit for his church youth group.

“Somebody in the group said ‘well Cliff can do it, he’s the fattest one in here,’” he said.

That Christmas started out tough for Cliff. He lost his father just a few months earlier in a car accident.

“It’s like God tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘son I know you’ve got a broken heart but by bringing joy and happiness to other people and children I’m going to heal your broken heart,’ that’s how my journey started,” he said. “I’ve worn this Santa suit ever since and what a journey it’s been.”

Normally this time of year Santas like Cliff depend on income by doing photo sessions with artist like Larry Hershberger, but because of the coronavirus it would not be possible.

“The first thing that I thought of was how to save Christmas,” said Hershberger, whose idea included using technology to connect Santas with kids. “We’ve got a hundred Santas and Mrs Clauses that are available for zoom calls.”

They also offer virtual photo sessions thanks to technology. So Christmas will definitely be different and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think something is going to happen,” he said. “It’ll bring families closer.”

The visit comes with a cost and businesses and individuals can reach out to help sponsor/cover the cost for kids. The Santas are also donating visits with children in the hospitals.

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