If there’s one thing I’ve learned this holiday season, it’s that visits with Santa can’t and shouldn’t be rushed. It’s not good for the kids, it’s not good for the parents, it’s not good for the photos and it’s not good for the magic. Santa is now stationed at his beautiful, forest like set at the Greenwood Park Mall and he’s in no hurry to shoo kids away.

Our family was provided a complimentary $24.99 package for the purpose of creating this story and sharing with you.

From past experiences, my children and I have become trained to visit Santa in a sort of tornadic blur. Arrive, primp hair, fluff dresses, stand in line, run to Santa, say hello, face camera, smile and then leave so the next family can make their way to the set.

This year was different. Quinn wasn’t interested in being in the photo (she loves Santa, she was just done for the day), James was interested in everything about Santa; his nose, his glasses, the puffy pom pom hanging off of his hat, the basket of candy canes. Lulu and Scout were prepared for the whirlwind of smiling and leaving. Santa and the photography team at the Greenwood Park Mall were ready for all of it. They weren’t rushed or flustered, they spoke kindly to my children, invited them to take their time, offered us another chance to capture the perfect photo, shared candy canes, squeaked squeaky toys and were all around friendly and patient.

How to Prepare Children for a Visit with Santa
Skip the line with a Santa Fast Pass, reserve your time in advance!
Read stories about Santa Claus before your visit.
Talk to them about why children visit with Santa.
Prepare them for what will be happening; you won’t leave them, you’ll step away so you/the photographer can take a photo.
Show them photos from other times they’ve visited Santa, or photos of other children visiting Santa.
Plan to be in the photo with them if necessary.
Pick a time that they aren’t cranky, hungry or have to wait in line for a long time.
Leave and try again another time if it’s not going well, maybe even a totally different year.

While you’re visiting Santa, there are many things to do at the Greenwood Park Mall; shop, eat, play on the mall playground, vote for your favorite gingerbread house in the Santa area, color some pictures or write and mail a letter to Santa in the Santa mailbox!

All area Simon centers will be celebrating National Cookie Day on Tuesday, December 4 by handing out cookies either at the Santa sets, Guest Services or the Mall Office.

Reserve your time with Santa in advance and get a Santa Fast Pass to skip the line!

To see our final photo, head over to Instagram…we’re also giving away a photo package to one of you on our Facebook page on Wednesday, November 28th!

Castleton Square Mall, Fashion Mall at Keystone and Greenwood Park Mall, also provide children with all spectrums of special needs and their families with an opportunity to enjoy this time-honored holiday tradition through a sensory-friendly Caring Santa event in association with Autism Speaks. Caring Santa will occur on varying dates and times prior to mall openings. Guests must register in advance.

For local pet owners, the popular Pet Photo Night with Santa will occur at Castleton Square Mall on December 2, Fashion Mall at Keystone and Greenwood Park Mall on December 9 and Hamilton Town Center on November 18.  Pet Photo nights are hosted after regular mall closing and the set gets an extensive cleaning following the event to remove any potential risk to allergy sufferers.