Page 6 - Evolve Magazine Winter 2020
P. 6

Will Santa still arrive this year?
The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed our outlook and ability to run or attend events during 2020 and it’s clear that it’s not going to change anytime soon.
 With so many regions having additional restrictions placed upon them and other areas of activity now being moved until March 2021, what is the effect going to be on Christmas?
How do we have family gatherings if it is limited to only one household or a maximum of six people in a single group? I suspect that the traditional Christmas is not an option for 2020. How will that affect families, especially the children? What about the visit to Santa’s Grotto, will that happen?
These are all very difficult questions to answer, as I suspect that no-one really knows the answers. As far as venues are concerned then much has to change. Clearly Santa cannot sit in his grotto and greet the children or have them on his knee.
I know that is challenging the creative minds of the marketing teams in many venues to come up with a ‘Santa Experience’ that doesn’t prove to be a disappointment.
Will we have to have Santa’s Elves
in PPE and will Santa have to wear
a mask too? I think it will mean the traditional Santa’s Grotto moving from enclosed structures to much more expansive staged settings with imaginative graphics and lighting.
In one example I know, they are planning on building a roof with a chimney and Santa stuck in it. The children will come in and suggest ways in which he can get down, all of which will fail. However, Santa has his big sack with him so he can slide their presents down the roof for them to collect as he can’t get to them personally.
However, even with great creativity, visitor numbers are going to have to be seriously curtailed, which means a huge drop in revenue for the venues. In addition, we have hundreds of visitors that travel
far and wide to attend Christmas events, including many from overseas. The UK Christmas events industry is worth hundreds of millions, most of which will potentially be lost in 2020. Clearly the possibility of this being drastically reduced this year will
be devastating to many businesses, many of which I suspect will not survive.
There is also the employment situation to consider, hundreds of actors and performers are employed at events and pantomimes at Christmas.
What about that traditional Christmas Fayre we always go to, which attract hundreds of people
in close proximity? I suspect that they will all be off the table as large gatherings are prohibited. Once again there is a real impact on income for a significant number of small retailers and stall holders, many of whom rely on this

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