Dylan Blaney, 3, talks with Santa about what she wants for Christmas at the Santa Magic experience at Alderwood Mall on Friday in Lynnwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Dylan Blaney, 3, talks with Santa about what she wants for Christmas at the Santa Magic experience at Alderwood Mall on Friday in Lynnwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Vaxxed and sanitized, Santa is no longer behind plexiglass

Local malls say he’s ready for a normal holiday, with kids on his knee. Want to stay ho-ho-home? Long-distance options remain.

LYNNWOOD — Santa is in town, vaxxed and camera-ready.

Unlike a year ago, there aren’t plexiglass barriers between the man in the red suit and his admirers.

Santas will sanitized, based on safety guidelines.

At Alderwood mall, kids have the option of sitting on Santa’s lap, said Jerry Irwin, mall general manager.

People want to get back to the full holiday experience, he said.

“It’s one of those time-honored traditions and one of the biggest traditions is Santa,” Irwin said. “This is going to be a banner year for holidays.”

Booking online is encouraged.

With a Santa supply shortage hitting some venues around the country, the increased demand means an extra jingle for available Kris Kringles. Demand for virtual Santas has zoomed. Alderwood mall also offers a video call option on its corporate website.

“We are fully covered,” Irwin said.

Sensory-friendly sessions with Santa are from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5 and 12 at the Alderwood site. Pet visits with Santa are on four Mondays, from 4 to 8 p.m., starting Nov. 29.

Many families visit the same mall Santa every year.

Santa Tom, Santa Thomas, Santa Bob G. and Santa Doug will be at Everett Mall.

Some Santas will allow visitors to lower masks for photos and will lower theirs as well.

Arthur & Associates was launched in the early 1940s when Arthur French, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer sports photographer, started taking pictures of children with Santa at the original Frederick & Nelson department store. It spread from there. The Viydo family took over after French died, and branched off into Easter Bunnies.

Everett Mall will have pet pics with Santa from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9.

Pets are always welcome at Everett Santa Photos, a family business in its 21st year of operating a studio with an amazing toy backdrop. Santa arrives at the seasonal shop at 2431 Broadway on Nov. 27. Owner Kylie Hawkins said spots are filling up fairly quickly at EverettSanta.com.

Many Santas nationwide are working from ho-ho-home.

Out of necessity, virtual visits sprang up last year. Turns out families and Santas rather liked the format. Households can find a Santa with their skin color. Grandparents can join in and kids have a video shot in real time to watch over and over. And it lets Santa work remotely, from home. Well, except on Christmas Eve.

The tradition of wish lists by snail mail continues.

An old-fashioned letter from Santa is a postage stamp away.

The town of Santa Claus, Indiana, population 2,400, gets about 25,000 letters to Santa every year. The residents take it seriously. Volunteers read and answer every letter and at no cost send a response with an official Santa Claus postmark.

Drop a letter in the mail to P.O. Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579. Letters must be received by Dec. 18.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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