While we don’t know exactly what December will look like this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do know that Santa Claus will still play a major part in helping to spread joy to people all over the world.
Read on to find some tips for spreading holiday cheer this year, including a step-by-step guide for performing virtually and ideas for safe contactless events.
Tips for Performing Virtual Events as Santa
Virtual visits from Santa Claus will certainly be a great option for both Santa and party hosts to celebrate safely this year. No matter which online platform you choose to use for a virtual event, the key is to practice! Set up virtual meetings with friends or family members before the actual event so you can practice your virtual performance and also work out any technical issues that may arise. It's also a good idea to schedule a practice event with the party host to ensure everything is working properly on both sides and resolve any issues prior to their actual event date.
More tips for your virtual performance:
Check-in: If there will be children on the call, make sure to touch base with the party host prior to the event to get all of the kids’ names, what's on their Christmas list, and any other information that you will need for the day of the event.
Consider using a virtual background: If you’re using Zoom, you can download a Christmas-themed virtual background that makes it look like you're hard at work in the North Pole! Check out these free Hallmark virtual backgrounds and these steps from Zoom on how to upload your virtual background in a meeting.
Read a Christmas story or sing a song: If you typically read stories or sing a Christmas song, ask the party host before if they'd like you to do that on the virtual call and if they have any favorites! Here are 25 popular Christmas songs with lyrics on YouTube to sing along to. (Note: Here are steps for sharing video and sound through a Zoom meeting).
Audio and sound: The camera and speaker on your device itself should work perfectly fine for virtual events, but of course make sure to test this prior to the event. If you are more tech savvy, we’ve seen some of our members purchase HD webcams, microphones, and ring lights to further enhance the virtual event. For more, check out these 5 tips for your virtual performance.
Record your event: Check with the party host before the event to see if they would like a recording of the virtual call afterwards. You can use these steps from Zoom on how to record your meeting.
We are also seeing Santas who are offering pre-recorded video messages that are personalized for each child. This is another safe option and fun way for children to experience a visit from Santa this year. You can easily record these through Zoom and send the file over to the party host.
Opt in to Virtual Events on The Bash
If you are offering your services virtually, make sure you are opted in to virtual events on The Bash so you can get listed on our virtual event services page and start receiving booking requests for these types of events. Learn more here about our virtual events feature.
Follow these steps to opt in to virtual events on The Bash:
Log in to your account.
Under the “Profile" tab, click the edit button next to Profile Details.
Select "yes" for “Are you available for virtual parties?"
Click the orange "update profile" button at the bottom of the page.
How to Host a Virtual Event as Santa
While there are many different online platforms to conduct a virtual event through, we’ve seen FaceTime and Zoom to be the most popular amongst vendors and party planners. Below you'll find some step-by-step instructions on how to host a virtual event via FaceTime and Zoom.
Zoom is definitely the most popular virtual event platform right now, so it’s best to be familiar with how to use it. With a free account, a Zoom meeting can host up to 100 people and attendees can join from any desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Just know that for meetings with 3 or more participants, there is a 40 minute limit if you are using the free version. Learn more about hosting a Zoom party.
Steps for setting up and hosting a Zoom meeting:
The steps below are for a laptop/desktop setup. If you're using a mobile device, just download the Zoom app (iOS and Android) and follow the similar instructions to create an account and set up a meeting.
Create an account: To set up and host a Zoom party, you’ll first need to create an account—it will guide you through the free sign up process and the steps to install the Zoom app.
Schedule your event: Once your account is set up and you have a date and time for the upcoming Zoom party, it’s time to schedule it. Go to your meetings and click the “Schedule a Meeting” button. Make sure to enter the name of the meeting, duration, date and time, time zone, and click save. There are other settings that you can play around with here as well, but if you are new to Zoom, the default settings should work fine! (You can learn more about the other optional settings here).
Share it with the host: After you click save, you'll see the details of the event and the option to add it to your calendar (Google, Outlook, or Yahoo). To share it with the party host, you can just click the “Copy Invitation” link, copy those meeting details, and share them with the party host via email, text, or even in a calendar invite.
Starting your meeting: On the day of the event, you can find the meeting through your meetings in Zoom and all you have to do is click the "start" button. If you have the invite link saved on your calendar, you can easily just click that link and join from there as well.
Video & Audio: When you first join the Zoom meeting, a window will pop up for joining audio. You can click the "Test Speaker and Microphone" link to test both your speaker and microphone to make sure they are both working correctly. If both pass the test, go ahead and join the computer audio. If your video isn't already started when you join, just hover to the bottom of the screen and click the "Start Video" icon where you'll also see some additional icons, including a "record" button.
FaceTime is a great (and free!) option if both you and the party host have Apple devices. FaceTime can accommodate up to 32 members in one video call and you won’t have to download any new app, as it’s built into all Apple devices. You can also just use your iPhone/iPad's audio and camera without needing any high-tech equipment.
How to use FaceTime:
If you have the host’s phone number or email address saved in your contacts:
- Open the FaceTime app and simply type their name. Select their name when it appears and then click the FaceTime icon.
You can also start a FaceTime video during a regular phone call (on an iPhone):
- Call the party host's phone number and once you have them on the phone, just tap the FaceTime icon to switch over to using the FaceTime app.
Once the FaceTime call has started, the party host can go ahead and easily add any other friends or family members to the call so they can join in on the fun!
Promote Your Virtual Offering
Promoting your virtual service is critical to attracting party planners this holiday season. Here are a few ways you can get the word out about your virtual service:
Update your profile bio: Provide more details about your virtual services within your profile on The Bash and other websites you utilize for your business. Describe what a virtual event would look like when hiring you.
Share on social media: If you use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, update your bio and share photos/videos that promote your virtual service. This is a great way to share your new service to past and potential clients.
Spread the word: Share your new virtual event option with friends, past clients, and any vendors who already know you. Word of mouth can go a long way in generating future business, so make sure to spread the word!
Contactless Event Tips for Santas
While the holiday season still has its unknowns, what is evident over the past several months is that vendors and party hosts have adapted to the current situation to have safe events, and we expect the same for Santa Claus!
Below we have put together safety and social distancing ideas that we've seen and heard from others. Most importantly, make sure any in-person event adheres to local and federal government regulations, as well the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). You can find our full COVID-19 event checklist for vendors and party planners here.
Contactless Event Safety Ideas & Tips:
Santa masks: Face masks are a key safety measure at events these days and may be required, depending on the type and location of the event. If you are planning to incorporate a mask into your costume, check out this Santa beard mask and more Christmas-themed masks on Etsy.
Bring hand sanitizer: It's always a good idea to bring hand sanitizer with you to events for all to use, especially if there will be any commonly touched surfaces or areas set up (like a place to write letters to Santa).
Socially distanced visit: While sitting on Santa’s lap may not be feasible this year, think about other creative ways to keep children 6 feet away as they share their Christmas list with you. Maybe there is a sled for the child to sit in that's 6 feet from you or a magical Christmas circle that the child has to stay within when it's their turn.
Safe Story Time: While practicing socially distancing, consider reading a Christmas story to the children. The Polar Express, Bear Stays Up for Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and The Night Before Christmas are some of our favorites!
No matter how you decide to conduct a safe visit with Santa this year, make sure you are fully communicating any safety requirements for guests prior to the event, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet away at all times. This will ensure there are no surprises for you or the guests on the day of the event.
This post is for general informational purposes and does not intend to provide legal or financial advice. Government guidance and restrictions for events and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic vary by location. Before implementing any safety measures for your business, we recommend consulting the government guidance in your area, or your legal or business advisors.
Do you have any tips or advice for other performers this holiday season? We want to hear! Comment below.