covid-19 in connecticut

‘Not Even COVID Can Ruin the Christmas Spirit': Meet One of Santa's Helpers

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Christmas is a special time of year that’s full of magic. Part of that magic is a visit with Santa Claus or one of his helpers. This year might look a little different.

“There’s a really different Christmas spirit you feel this year because we’re all seeing each other again and we lost something that we took for granted maybe and now we’re getting it back and it’s an amazing feeling,” Rep. Bill Buckbee of New Milford said.

One of Santa's helpers, who is also Buckbee, said not even COVID-19 can ruin the Christmas spirit.

“Last year threw us all for a loop and we would scramble on how to do this and this year we thought we had our hands around it and then at the last minute, things are changing again,” Buckbee said.

He said he has shied away from large indoor events and stuck to large outdoor gatherings like the New Haven tree lighting. He also does virtual visits.

“It’s been a different animal but I think people have adjusted really well. Some children come see you with a mask on and then take it off for a picture and put it back on. Some don’t at all, but it’s been amazing to see people show up for tree lightings,” he said.

How children approach Santa has been a little different, too.

“There are things they always want, but I have seen a little shift in some of the children this year that tugs the heart string,” he said. ”I want my family to be healthy. Wow. It’s tough. It’s tough sometimes.”

Sometimes Santa can’t always deliver.

“I had a granddaughter who told me she didn’t want her grandfather to have cancer, so we had a little discussion that that might not be something Santa does, or Santa can do, but we’ll both wish for the same thing for Christmas and let’s put our hands in others that this happens. He called me three weeks later that he was in remission.”

And just in case you needed a reminder, Santa doesn’t always say yes.

“I’m not going to bring you a donkey, that’s not going to happen. She was in awe. Santa doesn’t mean yes all the time by any means just because you get to talk to me I’m going to say yes. No.”

“Santa knows ahead of time what they want and maybe what they might not get,” Buckbee said.

As a lawmaker and Santa, Buckbee tries to deliver for his community.

“I’m truly blessed to help people all times of year. They’re both unbelievably rewarding,” Buckbee said.

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