Santa Claus traditionally visits Litchfield for a few weekends every December, setting up shop in the “Santa house” in the southwest corner of Central Park.

But the coronavirus pandemic changed things this week. With worries about close contact between Santa and young children and the chance of spreading COVID-19, the decision was made not to put the Santa house out this year.

That did not stop Santa Claus or his helpers — also known as the Litchfield Fire Department.

Rather than risk a Santa-less Christmas because children could not go to see the jolly old elf, fire department members decided to bring Santa to the children on two Saturdays this year.

Santa’s first visit was this past Saturday, as he rode on a trailer pulled by a fire department rig and escorted by several helpers — fire department members and their families. The Christmas convoy started at the fire hall, then wound its way through the south part of town.

Santa waved and asked children along the route for their Christmas wishes — all at a safe social distance — while firefighters and their families handed out candy canes.

Don’t worry if you missed this past weekend’s visit. Santa and his helpers make a return visit this coming Saturday, this time looping through the north part of the city.

— Brent Schacherer