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