Technology "biggest gift" to Santas in their virtual grottos

Slideshow ( 5 images )

TALLINN (Reuters) - Santa Clauses from around the world shared the joy of seeing into the lives of the children who this year have had to excitedly whisper their Christmas wish lists to them online.

“Being a virtual Santa is very new to me and yet it’s so wonderful to reach out to people, not just people that come to visit me, I can go and visit them,” said Santa Ian from Australia told a congress of 8,500 Father Christmases.

“I have young people take me into their playrooms and showing me their toys. It’s such a new way of doing things.”

The gathering, hosted in Tallinn, Estonia, with some Santa Clauses joining online and others in person, was highlighting the virtual experience after the coronavirus has forced shops, fairs and markets the world over to change their festive plans.

“One of the biggest things I found in this virtual Santa is we can reach now, to the young people with the special needs that can’t come into the malls,” Santa Ian added. “They can talk away. It’s opening a whole new world for them.”

Santa Bruce from Canada agreed. “The technology of the internet and the virtual realm, has been our biggest gift so far this year,” he said.

“But also, what I’m seeing is that what was old has become new again. The amount of Christmas cards going out, people picking up the phone speaking with each other and really, these virtual visits, is the next step in telecommunication.”

Reporting By Janis Laizans; Writing by Andrius Sytas; Editing by Alison Williams