A restless Christmas Eve

AT: John W.C. Robinson

For all of the childhood memories that have been blurred, forgotten or replaced, there’s one feeling we can all still clearly remember. It’s that feeling, as a child, on Christmas Eve when we were being put to bed with full knowledge of what the next morning would bring. 


It was hours away and the excitement was abundant: Santa Claus would visit overnight and the next morning the tree would be loaded with presents. That feeling persisted even as an adult — long after the dreams of Santa’s existence had been quieted — because our kids still believed, and we were just as eager to see their faces in the morning when they awoke to the gifts from the overnight visit of the jolly old fat man.

The effects of 2020’s shutdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt. Infection numbers continue to climb, stocks are still trying to rebound and most of us will celebrate the holidays with only our immediate household. The amusement industry was hit extremely hard during 2020, and many of us are holding our breath trying to balance hope for 2021 with the reality 2020 has presented us.

And yet, if you close your eyes and just take a moment, it almost feels like that childhood Christmas Eve. Something special is just moments away.

While right now, we’re all still dealing with COVID-19 and its realities, in recent weeks not one but two promising vaccines have made it through testing. Earliest estimates have one or both of them available to the public at large by March of 2021, with later estimates putting that timeline at sometime this forthcoming summer. Either way, it’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and one that holds promise not only for the world at large, but for the 2021 tourist and attraction season.

In addition, while the requirements of 2020 was something none of the industry was ready for, the 2021 season will be greeted with a prepared amusement industry. One that’s ready to welcome guests with or without masks, one that’s ready to santize rides and promote healthy visits. 

Right now, it’s Christmas Eve. Santa hasn’t arrived yet, but the industry is eager and ready to unwrap the gift of 2021 and its hopeful promises.

This article appears in the DECEMBER 2020 issue of Amusement Today.
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