Santa elephants gift Thai kids face masks

"I got a balloon, face masks and alcohol gel from the elephants. I'm so excited because an event like this only happens once a year, and I think my school is the only place with elephant Santas," said Beyapha Mhonsuwan, a student at Jirasartwitthaya School, which is just north of the capital Bangkok.

The elephants have been paying year-end visits to schools in the area for nearly two decades, but since the pandemic hit, the usual yuletide cheer of candy and presents has shifted to hand sanitizer and face masks. Organizers said they held the event to encourage students to return to the classroom after months of taking online classes from home.

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