Hotel Pattee plans Santa visits, holiday activities for Dec. 11-12

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Avalynn Moreland is held by Allison Moreland during a visit with Santa at La Poste in 2019. Santa will be at the Hotel Pattee from 5-7 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 12 and COVID-19 precautions will be taken.

Santa will be back in Perry on Friday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 12 during a pair of visits to the Hotel Pattee.

The Santa visits are part of a holiday weekend at the Hotel Pattee, which also includes a gift giveaway and family-style meals.

After the Perry Chamber of Commerce canceled the annual Lighted Parade and Holiday Celebration because of COVID-19 concerns, Jenny Eklund received calls and text messages from community members disappointed there wouldn’t be a Santa visit. One of those calls was from Santa Claus himself.

“The phone calls came in to me and my heart was broken, plain and simple. I’m like 'where there is a will, there is a way,'” said Eklund, with the Hotel Pattee.

She started planning a safe way for families to come into the hotel to visit with Santa from 5-7 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 12. Eklund said spreading out the Santa visits to two nights will help with social distancing.

Some of Santa’s elves will be at the front door of the hotel monitoring how many are inside at one time. Snowflakes will be placed on the floor for families to stay six feet apart. Families will come in the front door, follow the snowflakes to visit with Santa and then exit out the back door. 

Eklund said parents can decide how their child can visit with Santa. They can sit on his lap, wave at Santa as they walk by, talk to Santa from a distance or sit in a different chair.

Eklund added that Santa will be wearing a special mask. Sanitizer and masks will be available at the door. Packaged cookies made by the hotel will also be handed out to the children visiting with Santa.

The second step in the hotel’s holiday weekend will include door prizes.

The interior of the Hotel Pattee is decorated for Christmas. Santa will be at the hotel from 5-7 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 12.

“I’m going to go get small little gifts, buy them local and share them with our local community for the people who come,” to visit Santa, Eklund said.

The small gifts purchased from the local businesses will be wrapped and placed either under the tree or in a big stocking in the hotel. The items could also include gift cards to local businesses or gift certificates for free appetizers or desserts at the Pattee Cafe.

Details for the giveaway are still being finalized but Eklund said her goal is for each family to go home with a small gift.

The last step in the holiday weekend includes offering family-style meals on Dec. 11 and 12. The Dec. 11 feature will be a lasagna dinner for four that includes salad and breadsticks. The feature for Dec. 12 is 12 crispy tacos with all of the fixings as well as chips and salsa. 

Customers can call the front desk, 465-3511, to place their order starting on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Pre-orders for the lasagna dinner must be in by 12 p.m. on Dec. 11 and by 12 p.m. on Dec. 12 for the taco dinner. Customers can pay over the phone or when they pick up their meals and meals can be delivered curbside each night from 5-7 p.m.

Eklund added that the lasagna and taco dinners will also be available for those wanting to eat at the hotel. The hotel will be opening up the entire main floor and tables will be spread out to help with social distancing. Pre-orders are not needed to eat in the hotel each night.

Eklund said they are hoping for a great response for the curbside meals, Santa visits and regular restaurant business on Dec. 11-12.

“It’s also the hotel’s way of thanking the community for supporting us. We take pride in shopping local, supporting local. I just want to end the year on a good note for 2020,” Eklund said.

The exterior of the Hotel Pattee. Santa visits and other holiday activities are set for Dec. 11-12 at the hotel.