Why Santa HQ Is The Best Place To Visit Santa This Year

This is a sponsored blog post. While the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by Santa HQ to review this product.

One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions is visiting Santa at the mall. It’s actually a tradition that I’ve done since I was a little girl growing up. In years past, we’d go and have to stand in line for at least an hour which wasn’t so fun (especially with little ones). Last year though, we discovered Santa HQ, a brand-new way to visit Santa without the wait! Santa HQ allows families to make reservations to visit Santa at a time that’s convenient for them and creates a more enjoyable experience for all!

Not only is there no line to see the big guy in red but there are fun activities to do before seeing Santa. As soon as kids walk in to the Santa HQ experience they can discover if they’ve been “naughty” or “nice” with the ‘Naughty or Nice Meter’. Of course both my kiddos made the “nice” list (though I suspect Santa must have been sleeping on the job and not watching them yesterday afternoon lol). The boys loved seeing their names up on the illuminated list.

Next, kids can have fun in the Elf Academy and make their own Elf ID cards that include their photo imposed on an Elf’s body and a list of all their important facts like favorite foods, favorite hobbies, favorite reindeer and what they think their super power is.

Other things to do in the Elf Academy include ‘The Magic Mirror’ where kids can transform into one of Santa’s elves and virtually try on various elf outfits, the ‘Elfie Selfie’ that lets children take a selfie and star in their own holiday video, and ‘Elf-Ray Vision’ which is augmented reality fun throughout Santa HQ.

There’s also a light show set to music, with more than 10,000 individual holiday lights synchronized to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” that’s the perfect place for a holiday photo opp before they visit Santa.

I love how much time the kids get to spend with Santa at Santa HQ because there’s not a long line of people waiting to see Santa. It’s not just a rushed “what do you want? Okay, bye” experience. Santa sat there and actually had a conversation with my boys, asking them questions and talking for a few minutes. Best of all, they took at least half a dozen photos with Santa instead of just the one which is great because the one picture doesn’t always turn out. They took a handful of smiling photos and a couple silly ones. The photo above is the one that was printed but then I had a link to view the rest and found this gem below. See the genuine smile on Jacob’s face as opposed to the plastered on one in the image above? I would have never got that photo if this had just been a quick click-and-done type thing!

Overall, I believe Santa HQ is the best place to visit Santa for fun and a quality image (or two) that really capture your kids and the festivity of the season. Want to see if there is a Santa HQ near you? Check out the Santa HQ site here.

One other thing that I wanted to mention…..this year I learned about HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Drive where visitors to Santa HQ can join in and donate new, unwrapped toys for local children in need. The program’s goal is to collect over 1,000 toys per center. In 2017, HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving program collected over 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations like Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus. Just something to keep in mind for your visit if you are feeling in the giving spirit :)

Have you visited Santa yet this year? I’d love to see your family’s photos if you want to share with me! Tweet with me @aliciamarie112

The Best Place To See Santa This Season

This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

Seeing Santa is a yearly holiday tradition that many families partake in. The first couple years of my boys’ lives I enjoyed taking them to see the jolly man in the red suit but then, as the years went on, it was one holiday task I started to dread. Seeing Santa meant standing in a long line, especially if you went on a weekend, and by the time you got to the front of the line the kids were always cranky. The folks at HGTV and Macerich saw this problem and came up with a better experience for families. This year I took my boys to Santa HQ and I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience and now will actually look forward to this little ritual every holiday season.

Located inside Macerich Shopping Centers in California, Arizona, Chicago, Metro New York, and the Washington, D.C. corridor, Santa HQ is different than other places where you can see Santa. The biggest difference was that there was no line to wait in even though we went mid-day on a Saturday. They offer reservation times but also accept walkups (which is what we did). Guests can register online and select and pre-pay for their photo package which gives them the opportunity to upgrade their package by making their family photo session days or even weeks in advance. The online reservation systems even has an opt-in text functionality to provide reminders about their Santa photo session reservation.

The other big difference is that HGTV’s Santa HQ adds a whole new dimension to the traditional family Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday extravaganza that uses state-of-the-art digital technology. Each Santa HQ location is set with a dazzling array of holiday experiences, including:

  • The traditional photo-op with Santa Claus
  • Elfie Selfie: Where visitors take a selfie and star in their own holiday video
  • Elf-Ray Vision: Guests can explore Santa’s Observatory through the use of special goggles that trigger a series of augmented reality experiences at multiple locations throughout Santa HQ
  • Naughty or Nice Meters: Where visitors can stand next to an interactive board to find out which list of Santa’s they made
  • Light Show: With more than 10,000 individual holiday lights synchronized to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” to create an illuminated orchestra

My boys loved the Naughty or Nice O’Meter the most I think. It was funny to watch their faces as they waited to see if they were on the “naughty” or “nice” list. Luckily both of them made the nice list this year ;)

Once we enjoyed all of the interactive experiences we got to see Santa. The boys took a picture with him and then told him what they wanted for Christmas. Jacob asked for a video game and Lucas asked for LOL surprise balls.

At the end of their visit, Santa let them each pick out a coloring book and crayons. Overall we had an awesome experience at HGTV’s Santa HQ. It really is the best place to see Santa this holiday season!

Have your kids visited Santa yet this year?

The Original Christmas Classics Blu-ray Box Set {Giveaway}

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa! I love snuggling up on the couch under blankets with the boys and watching some of our favorite holiday movies so I’m really excited to share this great giveaway with you all!

The Original Christmas Classics collection features four TV specials:  the Rankin/Bass classics “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Frosty Returns.”

The Original Christmas Classics collection will be available wherever Blu-rays are sold. The set retails for about $45. If you are an Amazon Prime member the set is currently being sold for $28.85 and with 2 day shipping you’ll get it before Christmas!

GIVEAWAY:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me which one of the specials is your favorite

2) Like The Original Christmas Classics on Facebook

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Subscribe to this blog via email {look in upper right hand corner}

Giveaway ends December 27, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this gift set. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

Christmas 2011 In Pictures

Christmas Eve celebration with cousins. Present time and all the kids are waiting patiently for their presents.

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Leaving cookies out for Santa. Jacob chose to leave him juice instead of milk.

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This is what Santa left them.

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Jacob coming down the steps on Christmas morning. He was more interested in showing me his Thomas paper than looking at what was under the tree.

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Lucas found the best way to see what was in his stocking was to dump it into his lap.

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Jacob checked to see if Santa ate his cookies and drank his juice. He had!

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Gift time! These boys were so spoiled this year!

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Time for our birthday party for Jesus!

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Jacob enjoyed frosting the cake because he got to eat it off the spatula.

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Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!! :) {Jake decorated the cake....}

Wordless Wednesday: Visit with Santa

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