Tiny Santa Claus parade has been spreading Christmas joy in Melville, Sask., since 2020

Volunteers refused to let pandemic restrictions dampen the joy of Christmas

It’s a Santa Claus parade composed of a single pickup truck and a double-trailer float, but it’s been bringing Christmas cheer to the community of Melville, Sask., since 2020.

When the small city, about 140 kilometres northeast of Regina, paused its annual Santa Claus parade in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, some families in the community of about 4,500 still wanted to do something to spread the magic of Christmas.

And if the city’s residents couldn’t line the streets to watch, they reasoned, the parade would come to their neighbourhoods.

So in 2020, Joelle Carlson and others turned to the local OK Tire outlet, which donated a trailer and a truck to haul it, and they set about creating the float.

A second trailer was added to accommodate all the decorations. Volunteers dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their elves, along with kids with candy canes, share the float with Santa’s sleigh, Christmas trees, reindeer and lots of lights, all to the tune Yuletide carols.

Four people inside a large industrial garage put decorations on Christmas trees.
The community came together on the project when COVID-19 restrictions forced the postponement of the usual parade. (OK Tire Melville/Facebook)

She says the group of about 20 volunteers turned to local auctions for items to give the float a different look this year, and they were surprised at the treasures they turned up.

Carlson says the reactions in the neighbourhoods make the long hours of work completely worthwhile.

“Especially through COVID, there were a lot of people that were alone,” Carlson said.⁠

Mr. and Mrs. Claus ride in style on the community float. (Submitted by Joelle Carlson)

“You could see, as soon as you were coming up, the people would come to the windows. You could see the joy building. They come outside, they flash their outside lights at us.

“It really hits home that it’s added Christmas joy.”