HOLTSVILLE, New York -- The holidays are a special time for families to come together and participate in annual traditions.
However, with COVID-19 cases still rising and new restrictions enforced to help stop the spread, many are trying to figure out safe ways to continue and maintain their holiday spirit.
When the Holtsville Ecology Center had to cancel their annual Holiday Light Spectacular that featured in-person visits with Santa, they figured out a way to bring Santa into the homes of families virtually.
"We didn't want to disappoint, we wanted to provide some opportunity for the kids who usually come here and get to see Santa," said Daniel Losquadro, Brookhaven's Superintendent of Highways. "What we decided to do is have a little conversation with Santa and see if he could help us out, and he agreed to record videos."
Parents and loved ones across the country can purchase a personalized video from Santa, up to 5 children per video. All proceeds go directly to the feeding and care of the more than 100 injured or non-releasable wild and farm animals at the center.
"For me to be able to say 'hey buddy I got an email from Santa, and he wants to tell you a message' is like something out of a movie," said Lynne Kulakowski, participant. "The first thing that Dante recognized was his name, so his whole face lights up. I'm crying because I can't handle it. After all, I know the wonder of it."
Kulakowski says her son watches his personalized Santa video almost every day on several electronic devices.
Even though going to see Santa in-person was their annual tradition to do at the ecology center, she is happy to be able to give him a little piece of Christmas magic that he can watch whenever he wants.
The ecology center is taking Santa video requests until December 7, 2020, but will most likely be extended until December 14th, 2020.
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone