COVID-19 has affected a lot of holiday celebrations this year. The pandemic has already changed annual traditions like Oktoberfest, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and even New York City’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.
The latest glitch in our usual holiday plans involves Santa not being able to land his sleigh on top of Macy’s. That’s right, Santa Claus is skipping Christmas at Macy’s for the first time since 1861, in compliance with the retailer’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Can I Still Visit Santa?
While this move is necessary to keep large crowds—200,000 people visit Santaland every year!— from gathering at the Macy’s flagship store and to minimize contact, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any celebration at all.
Macy’s has created Santaland at Home, an interactive experience designed for traveling virtually through Macy’s Santaland at Herald Square in New York City. The new Santaland experience will begin on Thanksgiving Day and end on Christmas Eve. During that time, kids (or kids at heart) can meet the elves, play games and take an interactive selfie with Santa Claus for a special memento.
How to Spread Holiday Cheer at Home
Whether visiting with Santa at home or hosting an outdoor cocoa party, there are plenty of ways to spread holiday cheer while keeping your family safe. You could transform your home into a winter wonderland using a variety of outdoor Christmas decorations or curl up together with a Christmas movie marathon. There will be 40 (!) new Hallmark Christmas movies this year, and you can always revisit classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Plus, you can indulge in these recipes inspired by Christmas movies.
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Santa Star Cookies
Cookie baking can’t get any more fun than when you are making—and decorating—these adorable Santa cookies. They are also really good to eat. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Santa Claus Cookies
Store-bought peanut butter sandwich cookies become jolly Santas with white chocolate, colored sugar, mini chips and red-hot candies. —Mary Kaufenberg, Shakopee, MinnesotaGo to Recipe
Meringue Santa Hats
My grandkids love it when I make meringues shaped like Santa hats. If they are here, they love to help—they like to put red glitter on the meringue and take such pride in knowing they have helped Grandma.—Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, WisconsinGo to Recipe
Cookies and Cream Stuffed Santa Bellies
These cute cookies are a great conversation starter on a cookie tray, and the kids love ’em! If your kitchen is warm from baking all day, chill your dough for a bit before rolling it out. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, COGo to Recipe
Golden Santa Bread
A friend of mine shared this fun idea. She made it with purchased frozen dough, and I use a family bread recipe. The finished loaf looks complicated. but it’s actually simple to create. —Vicki Melies, Elkhorn, NebraskaGo to Recipe
Santa Claus Sugar Cookies
I’ve used this recipe for almost 40 years and love it because it’s a little different than most. My mom always made Santa cookies, and we’d put them into little clear bags tied with ribbon to hang on the tree.—Ann Bush, Colorado City, ColoradoGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Santa Deviled Eggs
I love creating special deviled eggs for parties. These little Santas are easier to make than they look, and everyone raves over them. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, ColoradoGo to Recipe
Include these fanciful Santas into every gift cookie tray you give this year. —Mrs. Andrew Syer, Oak Ridge, MissouriGo to Recipe
Holiday Hummus and Veggie Santa Tray
This festive tray will be the hit of any holiday party and will even get kids to eat their veggies! If your guests don’t like cauliflower, substitute crumbled feta and serve pita chips around the platter for dipping. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, ColoradoGo to Recipe
Santa Claus Cutouts
Santa turns out to be a handsome fellow when I use my favorite cutout cookie recipe. Painting on the candy coating allows for detailed decorating. My 14 shoe boxes of shaped cutters tell you how much I enjoy making cookies! —Jane Brown, Greensburg, IndianaGo to RecipeTaste of Home
My kids leave out at least one cupcake for Santa on Christmas Eve. These seemed appropriate! —Sharon Skildum, Maple Grove, MinnesotaGo to RecipeTaste of Home
Santa’s Stuffed Belly Cookies
I have been seeing “surprise inside cookies” for a few years and really wanted to come up with my own version. After a little brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making Santa’s belly cookies and filling them with miniature cookies. These are so much fun to give as gifts—just wrap in colored cellophane and tie with a festive ribbon. You can exchange the mini cookies for candy or anything you’d like; if desired, you can color the cookie dough red, too. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, ColoradoGo to Recipe
Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies
The kids will be jumping for joy when you bring out a cookie plate filled with Santas and his helper elves. These whimsical treats will be a hit with adults, too. The butter cookies are easy to shape and a delight to decorate. —Taste of Home Test KitchenGo to Recipe