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Father Christmas Asked to Banish Covid

This year like many Portuguese, Father Christmas is teleworking so that he can stay in touch with everyone who needs a little magic at this time.  And with the help of technology, he has said that of the island’s children many have asked him to make the “bug” (Covid-19) disappear.

Madeira Shopping’s Father Christmas, told media outlet Lusa “I am very used to the presence, the touch and the smiles. Here, things are a little distant, except that, contrary to what I imagined, I have found human warmth even via a video link.”

Through a video call (which must be reserved), Father Christmas talks to children and lets them know that his factory in Lapland is working “day and night” so that everything is ready for the “magical night.”

The initiative of the shopping centre, which lasts until the 24th of December, makes it possible to safely perform an almost mandatory ritual for many children during the Christmas season, in a time of pandemic.

In one of the video calls, Bianca, born in Funchal, asks for the coronavirus to end, a “gift” that Santa Claus admits to having left him “touched”.

“It is, in fact, the first wish of all of us. We will not let ourselves be beaten by the virus. We will all have to take care, be responsible with where were are going and who are are with. But we also have to live a little bit and I want you to have a very happy Christmas.” He replied, visibly moved by the request of the 10-year-old girl. 

Father Christmas remembers another request, which also “touched him a lot”, from José, who in an original way had the solution to end the problem of covid-19.

“A boy asked me for a magic wand and I, as I have received a lot of gastronomic requests, thought at once that it was for this function. He promptly replied that if he had a magic wand, he would ‘smash’ the virus. It is moving to see  children so young worried about the situation,”  he stressed.

After the initial inhibition of those who normally expect to sit on Santa’s lap and place their orders, the conversation quickly flows and becomes emotional as he attempts to explain to children the reason for the physical distance this year.

“Those who feel Christmas means more than a date in the calendar always end up finding the reality brings us closer, reaching the friendliest side of people, the most sensitive, and that’s what we are looking for too,” underlines Father Christmas, when talking to Bianca about why they are not face to face.

During the conversation, he mentions that he was “forced to stay at home by the elves,” who did not want him to take risks and reminded him that he is already “old”, asking him to go home and protect himself. However, he adds, there is a spirit that overcomes all distances.

“Christmas, despite the restrictions, is having one another with us. Although we are distant, the love we have for others makes us close” he says to the children.

To those on the other side of the screen, Father Christmas asks them to follow the same advice as their elf friends, not least because, after all, “there will be other Christmases.”

Sadly, this year’s Christmas will be very different for many Madeiran families.  A massive thank you to MadeiraShopping, who through this initiative will allow so many children to still embrace the magic of Christmas.

Samantha Gannon

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