Looking for a virtual and totally safe way to see Santa Claus this year? You have options.

By Lisa Milbrand
December 15, 2020
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Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a visit to the man in red—but thanks to 2020, that traditional sit-on-Santa's-lap thing probably isn't happening right now. Some malls pulled their Santas this year, while others put in safety measures—with Santas masked or shielded, or visiting with kids from six feet away. (Which probably makes Santa Claus a little more palatable to kids who were nervous about him in years past!)

But as with everything else this year, the safest option is to just stay home. Fortunately, through the magic of technology you have several options to bring the magic of a virtual Santa visit (and get that all-important naughty or nice verdict) right to a screen near you.

Credit: Getty Images

T-Mobile can help you make an appointment for a free Zoom Santa visit with one of its Santas (including Spanish-language and ASL options)—and you don’t even have to be a T-Mobile customer. Slots open up at noon ET at SantaCalling.com, so get there early to get your choice of slots.

Sittercity is booking 50-minute free virtual sessions, where your kids will interact with Santa and kids from up to eight other families (and you might just get a much-needed break to unwind).

Sam’s Club members can sign up for a free five-minute video call with Santa, which includes a downloadable video and photo so you can share the moment with your family.

If you have a late-model iPhone and a holly-jolly voice, Enchant Santa Calls is an app that uses the same tech you use for Animoji/Memoji to let you play Santa via a video call. You can pick how your Santa looks and what background you want to use, and both you and your call recipient need to have the app. It’s free for the phone call receiver, but the Santa will pay $5.99 for two calls, or $24.99 if you want to play Santa for 20 calls.

AskSanta.com, which partners with the American Heart Association, offers a free virtual Santa that can answer a lot of your kids’ questions (including reassuring them that Christmas isn’t canceled this year due to COVID).

Cameo offers an array of Santas you can hire to send a personalized message to your kids—including a St. Nick from the Santa Claus Hall of Fame. And if you’d like a more risque Santa experience for adults, you can hire the Stripping Santa or Gilbert Gottfried dressed as Santa.