Kids, start working on those letters to Santa because the big guy’s in-person availability is going to be a little limited this year.
COVID restrictions mean SantaLand won’t happen as usual, but the Old Mill District in Bend has announced it will set up two “North Pole Express” mailboxes this year for kids to quickly get their letters up north.
The mailboxes can be found at the north and south entrances of the Old Mill.
And while you won’t be allowed to sit on his lap this year, Santa will make a few appearances on the back of a decorated truck to swing by and pick up letters on Fridays and Saturdays in December.
Santa will come to pick up the letters the first three Fridays and Saturdays in December – Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12, and Dec. 18-19 – at 1 p.m. each day.
He promises to respond to every letter with a return address (but he can’t promise you’ll get every gift on your list!)
Due to COVID restrictions, Santa won’t be making his traditional Black Friday helicopter entrance in Bend.
The annual Tree of Joy will see some changes this holiday season as well.
A partnership between the Salvation Army, the four Rotary Clubs of Bend and the Old Mill District, the Tree of Joy ensures that every child in Central Oregon experiences the joy of Christmas.
Details for the 2020 Tree of Joy are still being ironed out – there will not be a physical tree that participants select tags from this year – but generous Central Oregonians will be able to view desired or needed gifts, make those purchases, and drop those items off at the Salvation Army’s offices at 541 NE Dekalb near Bend High School.
Nearly 1,000 individuals a year benefit from the kindness and generosity of the Tree of Joy program, which dates back to 1984.
Additionally, you can celebrate Chanukah with the annual menorah lighting in the Old Mill District. The lighting ceremony will be held in the westside parking lot across the river from the shops in the Old Mill District, near the Hampton Inn, where people will be able to view the menorah from their cars at a safe social distance.
Presented by the Chabad of Central Oregon, this year’s ceremony will be similar to a drive-in movie, with families taking in the festivities from inside their vehicles. The ceremony is expected to start at 4:30 p.m.
All faiths and denominations are welcome
More details coming.