Virtual visit of Santa Claus

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Santa Claus will also come to many children via screen this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, parishes often rely on alternative visits to St. Nicholas in digital form, for example as a live visit via video platforms and messenger services.

The latest guidelines of the Austrian government also make it possible for St. Nicholas to come home. However, he is not allowed to enter the apartments, but only to the front door.

“The message of Saint Nicholas is always up to date, especially this year. To stand up for others, to help and to be there for each other – in times of crisis that is more important than ever,” explained Martin Hohl, Federal Chairman of the Catholic Youth and Children Movement (katholische Jungschar) to the Catholic news agency Kathpress.

Santa Claus may go as far as the front door
It is important that all parties involved in a Santa Claus visit feel “safe and comfortable” even in the current coronavirus crisis, emphasized Hohl. Children are pleased than Santa Claus’ visit without entering the dwelling, in the garden or before the entry door, is possible. However, the government decision on this came “very late”.

Creative solutions make it possible to visit Nikolos even when contact is limited: in person at a distance or via the screen.
St. Nicholas visits required careful organization and planning, and parishes were already well prepared for alternatives, said Hohl. These would now continue to be implemented. In any case, the Styrian diocese of Graz-Seckau, for example, also asks for understanding on its online portal if a parish is no longer able to organize visits on site due to the short notice.

As alternatives, those responsible throughout the country have found many creative solutions in recent weeks so that children can also experience the feast of St. Nicholas this year. In Carinthia, for example, the Klagenfurt parish of St. Joseph/Siebenhügel not only offers zoom sessions with St. Nicholas, but also provides tips on its website on how to arrange a St. Nicholas celebration at home with the family, including a song, a painting of the folk saint and a St. Nicholas story for children. Before December 6th, a St. Nicholas video is also to be published on the parish website.

St. Nicholas visit online
In other parishes, too, personalized St. Nicholas videos are created on the basis of the information provided by parents, which are digitally delivered to the respective family. The parish of Leopoldau will conduct on Sunday, 6 Decemebr a live streaming via Facebook a “Nikolofeiern”. Santa Claus will also grace the occasion. This will be aired at around 11 AM at facebook.at/pfarreleopoldau.

hp with reports from religion.ORF.at/KAP. picture: hector pascua

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