Robots and virtual visits: Montrealers finding innovative ways for kids to meet Santa

Ho, ho, ho. Tis the season to be jolly... but maybe not to sit on Santa's knee.

With COVID-19's second wave still cresting throughout Quebec, the annual tradition of bringing kids to meet Jolly Saint Nick is running into some complications, forcing malls and everyday people to get creative.

Chantal Massicote used money that was supposed to go towards a trip to Greece to spread some Christmas cheer in her neighbourhood.

“I had this idea to put Santa outside and let parents come to my yard to take photos,” she said.

The result? Robot Santa taking his rightful place at the centre of a pandemic holiday installation in NDG.

Robyn Green, a Montrealer living in Toronto, runs a business involving showing movies for moms with small kids. But with theatres shut, she's pivoted to personalized Zoom visits with Santa Claus.

“It's almost like he's in your living room. You get a personal visit and you can record it, so you can share it with grandma and grandpa,” she said.

Over at the Angrignon Mall, a similar situation is playing out, as kids can make virtual visits with the red-garbed gift giver.

“This way, in the mall there's no lineup,” said Carrefour Angrignon spokesperson Alexandrine Harmignies. “Everything needs to be by appointment.”

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