Inside the magic

Toy store offers variations of tradition during pandemic

Because of safety concerns tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional visits to Santa Claus during this season aren’t taking place throughout the country as in the past.

Thanks to some creativity and special planning, Whimzy Toys & Party has adjusted its traditional Santa visits to include both Zoom visits and individual appointments that allow for social distancing and cleaning in-between sessions.

Chandler Miller, 5, left, and his brother, Milo, 7, speak with Santa during a visit Friday in the basement of the toy store. Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

“There’s nothing better than seeing the eyes pop and a big smile,” Santa said Wednesday before a scheduled Zoom visit. “That’s what makes it all worth it.”

He said it didn’t matter whether that was on Zoom or in-person, the magic was still there.

“It’s all about fun and enjoyment,” he said.