Last year was a rough one for Santa. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa and his helpers weren’t at as many malls across the U.S., but this year is a different story.

Santa Claus is back at malls across the Midwest this year, with some extra safety measures.

In Ohio, Santa made his first appearance at Southpark Mall in Strongsville last week. He and his helpers wear masks, and facial coverings are optional for families. Enhanced cleaning is also in place.

In honor of Santa, Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted will hold a special parade this Friday (Nov. 19) setting off at 5:30 p.m. Other attractions, presented by Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine, include face paining, a performance from the North Olmsted Marching Band, stilt walkers, The Real Popfusion and more.

As for seeing Santa, visitors may sign up for reservations in advance to avoid long lines. Sensory Santa photos will be available on Dec. 5 and 12 for visitors who need a quiet experience. Pet picture opportunities will be available on Nov. 28 and Dec. 19. For more information and to reserve your spot with Santa, go here.

In Michigan, one of the state’s largest malls, the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, is hosting Santa with similar COVID-19 precautions, including suggested masks and enhance cleaning protocols. To make a reservation to see Santa in Novi, head here.

In Illinois, SouthPark Mall in Moline starts their Santa visits on Dec. 2. For information, go here. In Indiana, Castleton Square in Indianapolis is a regular spot for Santa. For more details, go here.

Stumped for a gift? Go local. Check out our Midwest Gift Guide here.