A UCC student has written a book to reassure children about how Santa Claus will observe the various Covid-19 precautions while visiting homes on Christmas Eve.
Quercus Talented Scholar, Anna O’Connor, from Blarney in Cork, who is studying English at UCC, said she wroteafter children she babysits expressed concerns about the pandemic’s impact on Santa’s travel arrangements and house visits.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney confirmed last month that the government regards Santa as an “essential worker”, making him exempt from the 14-day quarantine rule.
While Mr Coveney stressed the need for social distancing from Santa, and advised children to get to bed early on Christmas Eve, Ms O’Connor said children still had concerns about how Santa would manage the hand sanitising and face mask wearing protocols in their homes on the night itself.
“This year has been so hard for everybody, but children have been particularly hard hit,” she said.
“They are really smart, so they know what’s going on - they know Santa travels and visits houses which are two things that we’re not allowed to do.
“These questions are ones that they genuinely have, and we owe it to them to answer them.
“I think it’s a great memento, too, and one they can look back at when they are older to remember the strange Christmas of 2020.
The book features stunning black and white Indian ink illustrations by Danny Foley, who Ms O'Connor met at Activate Youth Theatre at Graffiti Theatre.
Anna received her scholarship in recognition of her activism, especially in the area of arts and writing.
“Stories and words are one way in which I hope to make a difference in the world. I wouldn’t be me without my writing,” she said.
“Studying English at UCC has helped me so much with my writing ability. Even though we are online and not on campus the professors are great and so helpful.
“Being a Quercus Scholar is amazing, too, as it means that I get so much extra support.
"I’m so thankful to have a great academic community that supports my artistic endeavours and I can’t wait to get on campus.
is available to buy for €10 on santasmagicmask.com or on Kindle (https://amzn.to/2UAZUBu).