WAYLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The Long family has taken a picture with Santa Claus every year for nearly five decades.

It’s a tradition too strong for even COVID-19 to stop as the Wayland family took their 49th annual Christmas card with Santa this year. Though things did look a little different.

In this year’s picture taken at Woodland Mall, the extended family of eight wore masks, posing in front of a socially-distanced Santa who was protected by Plexiglass.

“I feel like we’ve adapted to life with masks and Plexiglass, so it just seemed to fit with everything else,” Katie Jewell said.

While other families may have just skipped this year’s holiday card given the pandemic, the Long family wasn’t going to give up that easy.

The Long family’s 49th Christmas photo with Santa Claus. The tradition continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We (didn’t know) if the mall was going to be open or how this is going to work, so we did have a backup plan because I think all of 2020 is about being flexible and going with the flow,” Becky Volpe said.

Looking back at the 40-plus years of family Christmas cards, David Long Sr. is grateful for all the memories.

“We’re a blessed family,” Long said. “Because how many families do this? We do an awful lot of stuff together … but this is a tradition and you can’t break that.”

With dozens more pages left to fill in the photo album, the Long family looks forward to sharing these memories and more with generations to come.

“They’ll look back and say, ‘What do you guys have on your face? What was going on there?’ Volpe said. “It’s kind of like when you look back through the years, like in the 90s when we had all the big hair and different outfits … It’s kind of like a stamp in time and gives you a moment to reflect.”

Next Christmas will be the family’s 50th year of having their picture taken with Santa, and they’re already planning something extra special to mark the occasion.