Video chat Santas are giving mall Santas a run for their money
Kids today are sitting on Santa’s laptop.
A flurry of video-chat companies are bringing Santa Claus to families’ screens this holiday season. A modern take on the classic mall meet-and-greet, websites such as Welcome Santa and Talk to Santa are offering families the opportunity to talk to Mr. Claus from the comfort of their own homes. Both companies price a live call with Mr. Claus at $29.
“Parents are saying, ‘You know what, it’s better than waiting two hours in line,’ ” Susen Mesco, founder and director of Denver’s Professional Santa Claus School, tells The Wall Street Journal.
Digital Father Christmas is also ideal for many special needs children, many of whom find meeting shopping center Santas in real time to be too much.
Meredith Lueck, founder of Welcome Santa, says she recently received a personal thank you note from the mom of a boy who has Down syndrome and found physically meeting Santa “overwhelming and usually unpleasant,” but virtually meeting Santa to be enjoyable, Insider reports.
“[The parents are so] thankful to have such a unique Santa experience without crowds, noise, waiting, etc.,” she tells the outlet. “Their kids can talk to Santa in the place they feel most comfortable.”
Not everyone is a fan though, with some complaining that kids these days don’t need more tech in their life.
“Don’t kids sit in front of the screen enough?” dad Nick West complained to the Journal, while meeting Santa at a Boise, Idaho, mall with his daughters.
But for farther flung families not within easy driving distance of a retail hub, a webcam may be the only way kids can deliver wish lists to the man from the North Pole.
The technology also offers a relief to aging Santas who struggle with the physical demands of of the job.
“It’s great for them because a lot of Santas, especially as they get older, they love being Santa, but they can’t go sit in the mall chair for eight hours anymore. It’s just so hard on their bodies,” says Lueck. “They’re enjoying a new way to be able to reach kids.”
Still, the learning curve is often easier for the tech-savvy.
“The young-gun Santas who get the technology are the wave of the future,” Mesco tells the Journal.
Source : Hannah Frishberg Link