The holidays will be a little different this year as children across the nation will no longer have the opportunity to sit on Santa Claus’ lap, at least at Macy’s (M).

The retailer announced on Thursday that it is going virtual with its holiday celebrations this year by offering Santaland at Home. The virtual, at-home, interactive experience will run from Nov. 27 to Dec. 24 as Macy’s looks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The contactless way to experience the magic of Christmas will be available at

The first-time ever digital Macy’s Santaland will offer up to three children a customizable experience that has everything from an elf greeting at the North Pole-bound train station, games at the Santa Village and Workshop, and a virtual visit with Santa, where a selfie can be taken.

Retailers across the country are grappling with how to keep consumers and employees safe during the pandemic. The shift away from traditional in-person visits from Santa is a safety measure that Macy’s and other retailers are implementing as the coronavirus surges in some parts of the country.

“At Macy’s, the safety of our customers and colleagues is paramount,” Susan Tercero, Macy’s vice president of branded entertainment, said in a statement. “To replicate the magical experience of visiting Macy’s Santaland for children and their families, we will shift to a virtual engagement this year.

“For many, visiting Santa at Macy’s has become a long-standing highlight of the holiday season. Macy’s is delighted to have found a way to ensure even more families can enjoy this treasured experience safely during this festive time of the year,” she added.

The coronavirus is also causing malls across the U.S. to put Santa Claus behind a plexiglass protection shield to reduce the spread of the virus. Mall operation Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) announced that pictures would be taken on a bench seated in front of the plexiglass protecting Santa Claus.

The new Santa arrangement will take place at PREIT-owned malls located in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The mall operator is also offering a virtual Santa Claus visit for children through a five-minute Zoom call.

Shares of Macy's were trading at $6.96 at premarket open, down 5 cents or 0.64%.

African-American Santa Claus, Los Angeles, Dec. 16, 2013
African-American Santa Claus Langston Patterson, 77, poses with Michelle Victor and her son Grant Victor, 1, at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall in Los Angeles Dec. 16, 2013. Patterson began playing the role in 2004 at the mall, one of the few in the U.S. with a black Santa Claus. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson