Issa Kassissieh loves to make children’s eyes light up. Every year during Advent, he slips into his Santa costume and transforms his house in Jerusalem’s Old City into a Christmas wonderland. But how does holiday cheer work in the coronavirus era?

Not degree never prepared him for this kind of Christmas. Four years ago, Issa Kassisieh graduated from the renowned “Santa Claus University” in the USA. The curriculum included subjects like: how to chat casually with children and parents, how to look good in photos – and how to spread as much kindness and love as possible. Issa Kassisieh is particularly passionate about the latter, which he does while visiting schools and hospitals, even mounting a camel in a Santa costume. But this year, curfews, face masks (that don’t cover the beard) and low morale dominate the festive season. How can Issa Kassisieh still spread Christmas magic? A Report by Tania Krämer.


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