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SAN DIEGO – Kids all over San Diego County want to visit with Santa, but doing it safely in the middle of a pandemic can be a challenge.

“It’s not something we would do,” said Anna Krauth, who lives in Lemon Grove.

Instead, she found a different way to get her kid’s gift list to St. Nick. A house in Coronado at 1040 Pine Street has a mailbox set up outside where people can drop off letters for Santa.

“My five-year-old thought it was the coolest thing ever,” she said. “He enjoyed the lights and putting the letter in there.”

The house is becoming a popular topic on social media in Coronado, where hundreds of people commented and shared photos of their own experience.

For those still wanting to see Santa in person, you may want to try:

  • Westfield UTC Mall, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Seaport Village, Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Old Poway Park, Dec. 12 and 19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (reservations necessary)
  • The Forum (Carlsbad), Dec. 12 and 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., where Santa will be sitting in a plastic-globe bubble

The Forum will also have light shows through December 12th with snow flurries that fall from the sky.

If those options aren’t a great fit, consider a video call with Santa.

“A lot of parents think it’s strange to Zoom with Santa but a lot of kids think it’s natural that of course Santa is up to date with technology,” said Mitch Allen, founder and “head elf” at Hire Santa, an organization that’s connected freelance “Santas” to events for over a decade.

This year, he says video call visits with Santa are all the rage. His company has done thousands of them in the past few weeks.

“You’re not going to be sitting on Santa’s knee like you have in the past,” he said. “It’s not safe for Santa because they are (at) a high risk if they get COVID.”

You can make a video call appointment with Santa at HireSanta.com.