I can't state strongly enough how important holiday traditions are. Especially, and without a doubt, in a tumultuous year like this one. Thankfully for most of us, holiday traditions revolve around family, and if we're lucky enough to be with them- -we're lucky enough!

Holiday traditions can color your memories throughout your life. Some of these traditions have become the subject of drastic change or modification this year in the face of COVID-19.

These revisions to everything- - from sports events, to fundraisers, craft shows to conferences and conventions, award shows, military presentations, movie making, and the theaters you go to see them in, weddings, funerals, baptisms, and the list goes on and on- - have metamorphosed longheld traditions into sometimes unrecognizable occasions.

But change in the face of a pandemic is necessary, and in one very important instance, it is saving a Christmas rite of childhood- - a visit with Santa!

Simon Property Group, the owner of the Empire Mall, has announced that Santa will be making a "safe and socially distanced visit" to the mall, as part of their Simon Santa Photo Experience.

The big man arrives on Friday, November 27, and will be visiting safely with your children until Christmas Eve. The Santa schedule is Monday through Saturday, from 1 to 7 PM, and from 1 to 5 on Sundays.

Santa and his elf helpers will be wearing masks and if you are 2 years old and older, you will be required to do so also. Hand sanitizer will be available too. If your child or you are ill or running a temperature, you're asked to stay home.

The most important thing for you to know is that you must make a reservation online to ensure you get to chat with Santa. Walk-in guests will only get to visit with Santa if a time is available.

So make sure you sign your children up now. Santa's visit times will go fast! You will find more information about your visit with Santa, online.

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