By Jeff Todd

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Colorado’s Santas to come up with creative ways to still spread joy this holiday season. Virtual and socially distant events will become more prevalent.

(credit: CBS)

“Not only am I trying to stay safe, but I’m trying to keep other people safe from me,” said Santa Tom Carmody.

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Santa Tom is in the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame and is heavily involved in the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. 2020 is sure to be a different season that his past 15 years.

On Sunday, Santa Tom took his first ride around his neighborhood testing out a parade style event in a makeshift sleigh being towed behind a car.

“Children were coming out of their house with bare feet. I tried to tell them to put their shoes on, but that didn’t do any good. Just to see the joy they have,” He said.

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After about three hours of parading around, he returned home for three more hours of virtual visits.

(credit: CBS)

“I’ve got almost 58 hours of virtual visits booked with a company called Welcome Santa,” he said. “This is what the future looks like.”

Normally, Santa Tom has more than 60 in-person events he tries to get to every year. This year he’s hoping his sleigh will allow him to make more appearances, while staying separated from boys and girls.

“Yea you miss the personal contact, you really do, because there’s something about reaching out,” Santa Tom said. “There was a spirit there that only exists between children and Santa.”

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Jeff Todd