This blog post is sponsored by Macerich/HGTV Santa HQ but all text and opinions are my own.
This time of the year is the most wonderful time especially through kids eyes. Now that my daughter is three and starts to wonder more, we decided to bring her to HGTV’s Santa HQ to meet Santa Claus and of course to capture some photos. Because it was our first time bringing her to see Santa Claus, we did some searching and learned some tips online. I’m going to share what worked for us, but before jumping to the tips, I would love to shout out to HGTV’s Santa HQ.
You may already saw Santa HQ at the malls nearby if are in California, Arizona, Chicago, Metro New York, and the Washington, D.C. corridor.
HGTV’s Santa HQ revolutionizes the traditional Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday experience with the use of state-of-the-art digital technology. They offer a new, family-friendly experience that features interactive technology to enhance the entire HGTV Santa HQ visit: Elf Academy.
My daughter was so excited when she could transform into one of Santa’s elves and virtually try on various elf outfits with the Magic Mirror.
There are other features I am sure bigger kids will love like creating their customized Elf-ID card using the new Elf-ID app and a “selfie”, exploring Santa’s Observatory through the use of tablets with Elf-Ray Vision, or standing next to an interactive board to find out which of Santa’s lists – Naughty or Nice – they made.
Don’t want to spend long time in line? Purchase the Fass Pass. This will give you the option to select the date, a 30-minute window of time to use Fast Pass, pre-pay online, upgrade their package by adding a family photo weeks/days in advance, and opt-in to receive text reminders about their Fast Pass window.
We’re in Arizona so we went to one in Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, AZ. If you are in AZ too, visit ShopChandlerFashionCenter.com/SantaHQ to secure a Fast Pass and pre-purchase a photo package.
Not only that your family will have a fun holiday experience, you will help doing good. In past years, HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving has collected more than 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations such as Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus.
Let’s watch a short clip I made for our first Santa Claus visit, and then get to the tips that worked for us.
- Try to talk about it often WITHOUT telling your toddlers that they will get to go visit Santa Claus. Wait for your kids to show interest first. That’s the key and it works perfectly for us in many other situations.
- Go online and purchase a Fast Pass and secure your spot. Make sure it’s the time you know your kids will be happiest during the day, not nap time (duh).
- If you shop often at the mall that has HGTV’s Santa HQ, before the booked time, walk by, show your toddlers Santa Claus and how other kids do (talk to Santa Claus, sit with Santa Claus, etc.) to get them the ideas of it.
- If you toddlers watch Youtube, find some cute holiday videos that have Santa for them to watch. Or you can show your little ones my video above.
- The night before, I told my daughter that because she ate very well for the day, and was going to sleep early, she would get to meet Santa Claus in the morning. She was super excited and she actually woke up asking to go to the mall.
- Last tip: Don’t expect your toddlers to do well the first time. They might cry and it’s okay. You can always try again. Mine looked down almost the entire time there then started to feel more comfortable when the photoshoot started. Now that my daughter asks to visit Santa Claus again and wave him every time we walk by.
The magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes is priceless. I want it to last forever. I’m glad there was no tears at all for our first time visiting Santa Claus and we were able to capture the moment. Have you ever brought your kids to Santa HQ? If yes, how did they do?