Local Santa Photos, Mall Santa Photos, & Safe Santa Visits
Past, present, and future, Santa photos hold a special place among holiday family traditions. These annual snapshots become treasured keepsakes for generations of family members. Around Christmastime, and sometimes as late as Christmas Eve itself, we’ve made the trip to the nearest mall to place our babies on Santa’s lap so they could smile pretty and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. And to get a candy cane, of course!
Well, this year is going to look a little bit different with the Santa photos, but thanks to some creativity, we all still have quite a few options for a memorable and safe Santa experience.
Looking for “pictures with Santa near me”? I will caution, schedules of many private photographers are already quite full this time of year. I’d recommend acting quickly to book and reserve a Santa photo session if you plan to get them done. Even the Santa mini sessions are sure to fill up quickly!
If you live in Montgomery County or Berks County, these are the closest opportunities for Santa photos I’ve found. Lots of choices for safe socially distanced Santa photos – modified mall Santa sessions and photos with Santa outside in the fresh air, among others. Please share any others in our comments below or on the Facebook page. And please be safe and follow safety protocols – no one wants to be the one who takes down Santa! 🎅 😷
A Word of Caution
So far it seems the options for photos with Santa this year are designed to prevent (at least limit) the spread of the virus. Still, remember that any place you go with other people, there’s always a chance of spread. Outdoor gatherings are believed to be safer than indoor gatherings. Be sure to avoid touching your face, use hand sanitizer, and follow the safety guidelines. Stay healthy!
Truly Safe Santa Experiences
If you’re looking for socially distant, truly safe Santa experiences for photos and memories, you’ve got a few options. Here are some creative takes on Santa photos this year!
Virtual Santa Photos
Sometimes the thought of the hustle and bustle of the holidays mixed with a need for social distancing seems like quite the conundrum. If you aren’t so sure about in-person Santa photos, you still have options! Virtual Santa photos make it easy to get a Santa photo without worrying about crowds, lines, or masks. A little sad that the kids won’t get the full experience, but I think they’ll understand Santa’s magic supersedes all the in-person visits and such.
Picture Me World offers Photo-Shopped Santa photos from those you take and upload from the comforts of home. Virtual Santa photos are quick and easy, and the experience couldn’t be safer. Also, you can relax knowing you can take all the time you need to capture and choose the perfect picture to submit.
More Information: https://picturemeworld.com/pages/santa
No one knows the right path to go this year with pretty much anything. It’s a crapshoot, truly. But here are a few ideas to fake your Santa photos for some great memories and laughs in this unusual year.
- Go with the old role reversal! Have your kids dress up as Santa themselves instead this year. If you have older and younger kids, it could be a really cute home photo op, especially with a new baby and the big brother or big sister. Let your kids make up their own costumes or pick up a cute Santa costume for them to wear. I can see this being pretty amusing as they try to create big bellies and white beards. If nothing else, a kids-dressed-as-Santa photo shoot will give you laughs for a long time to come!
- Family Member in a Santa Suit – You can always purchase a Santa suit and have an adult in your family dress up for the photos. If you don’t have someone in your immediate household able to do it, consider someone in the same “bubble” as far as your social distancing comforts go.
- Picture with Santa Paws – Now I’m not usually one to encourage dressing up pets in ridiculous costumes, for the pets’ sake, but in this case, it might be warranted. Get your dog or cat a Santa hat and voila! Instant safe photos with Santa from the comforts of home! Or go for the full monte with a full Santa suit costume for your pet. It’s kind of hilarious. Disclaimer: Be careful if you have cats, they might kill you in your sleep if you do this.
- DIY Photo Booth – Gather some fun holiday photo props and have a blast! Set up a festive backdrop or use your existing holiday decor. Take turns being Santa, an elf, Rudolph, Frosty, and other fun holiday friends. Snap as many photos as you like and create a fun and memorable Santa photo experience at home! Use your good old cell phone, DSLR, or an instant camera like Polaroid.
Open Air Photos with Santa
Breathe easier when you enjoy safe photos with Santa. Look for opportunities where you can properly distance yourselves, keeping kids and Santa safe. You might even find face mask Santa photos if you want something that is so 2020 to look back on for a lifetime to come.
Star Angels Photography
We loved having fall photos taken with Brittney Moore of Star Angels Photography. She was so patient with our kids (and dog!) and we ended up with great photos! Now it’s time to start thinking about Christmas photos. Super excited to hear she’s hooked up quite a few fun holiday setups for your family to consider, including a few options for photos with Santa!
- Polar Express Christmas Santa Photos – Stunning photos with Santa in front of the train! These Santa photos feature themes exactly like the movie! For the best effect, kids should come dressed in jammies with a stuffed animal or a blanket. This is just too adorable! Options for social distanced photos with Santa or sitting with Santa – parents’ preference. Kids will come home with memories and little goodies that represent the movie – a golden ticket and a mini sleigh bell included with the session and edited photos. It’s a 30-minute session and the cost is $50.
- Mar Jo Package – 30-minute session, 3 in 1 deal including Santa for $75
- Other Professional Holiday Photos by Star Angels
- Vintage Truck Sessions – 30-minute time slots, $50
- Hot Chocolate Mini Sessions – 15-minute time slots, $25
- Grinch Sessions – 20-minute time slots, $40
Sessions are filling up FAST so don’t delay if you are at all considering an outdoor Santa photo this year! Covid-19 safety information is posted on the Star Angels Photography Facebook page so be sure to check it out! (Prior to sessions, clients complete a health survey. Forehead temps will be taken. Social distancing is practiced if chosen by the client. There’s a bench for kids who won’t be sitting with Santa, Santa will wear a mask if requested, and more to keep everyone safe.)
Chillin’ on Chestnut in Boyertown, PA
Following holiday traditions, the popular Chillin’ on Main event will go on as planned! Just one little change – this year it takes place on S. Chestnut Street. Although scaled back, the guest of honor will still attend – Santa himself! Watch with delight as he arrives on a firetruck with his friends!
When: Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: S. Chestnut Street in Boyertown, PA
- Kids can write a letter to Santa at the YMCA table.
- Santa visits at Chillin’ on Chestnut give you another opportunity for Santa photos this year. As of right now, kids won’t sit on his lap but parents can still take photos with Santa safely!
- Families can also enjoy Santa’s workshop, games, crafts, and activities provided by various local churches and non-profits.
- The Boyertown Alumni Band will fill the area with festive holiday music.
- Guests can also enjoy hot dogs & hot chocolate courtesy of the Salvation Army.
More Information: https://www.facebook.com/events/264422494814550/
Mall Santa Photos
This year we didn’t know if Halloween would go off, let alone Santa visits. Well, we’re in luck. Rain nor snow nor sleet nor covid-19 can keep Santa from long lines of squirmy kids dressed in pretty clothes (as required by their parents) complaining that they’re bored/tired/hungry holiday traditions. Hah.
Coventry Mall Santa Sets
You can always count on the Coventry Mall to come through for the holidays! This year will feature three different safe Santa sets inside the mall. Children will be able to join Santa in the same set but not sit on his lap for a safe Santa experience for one and all. Each set offers a creative design that lets children be in the same photo with Santa, but socially distanced.
Families have three Santa photo shoots to consider:
- Santa’s Toy Workshop
- Winter Wonderland
- Santa’s Den
This year’s mall Santa photo sessions will run from December 1-December 24, 2020. Families with larger groups may need to reserve a time. For safety reasons, the space can only accommodate so many people at a time. Details will be posted on the Coventry Mall Facebook page, so stay tuned there!
More Information: Stay tuned to https://www.facebook.com/CoventrySanta2020
King of Prussia Mall Santa Photos
Many families go to see the King of Prussia Mall Santa year after year. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, you may not have to cancel your plans. Enjoy a visit and photos with Santa at the KOP mall for one of two options:
- Lights. Camera. Santa! – The Plaza
- Santa Photo Experience – The Court
Reservations are required and these are socially distanced Santa photos. Santa and his helpers will wear masks and guests are required to wear masks as well, as mandated by local health authorities. Santa photos are offered November 20 through December 24, 2020.
Plymouth Meeting Mall
Area malls are not letting kids down this year! You still have plenty of options for mall Santa photos for Christmas 2020.
- Santa and Friends – Reservations required for safety. Be sure to choose a Family Photo Package when reserving to ensure you get to see the characters, too.
- When: Every Tuesday, November 17 – December 8, 2020, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- November 17: Elsa/Anna
- November 24: Frosty the Snowman
- December 1: Rudolph
- December 8: The Grinch
- Where: Plymouth Meeting Mall, 500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting 19462
- Safety Info: https://preitmarketing.com/landing/holiday-safety
- More Info: https://shopplymouthmeetingmall.com/calendar/view/5242
- When: Every Tuesday, November 17 – December 8, 2020, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Family Pet Photos with Santa – Reservations are required. Please keep pets on a leash, in a carrier, or in your arms at all times. Use the South Plaza mall entrance next to Sola Salons. Owners must sign a release prior to seeing Santa.
- When: Every Monday, November 16 – December 14, 11am-7pm*
- Where: Fountain Court
- Safety Info: https://preitmarketing.com/landing/holiday-safety
- More Info: https://shopplymouthmeetingmall.com/calendar/view/5166
- NEW for 2020: Book a Virtual Visit with Santa – Enjoy a virtual Santa visit for Christmas 2020. This is a Live Zoom with Santa!
- Cost: $29.99, includes a recording of your visit with Santa!
Different packages are available to meet your needs for Santa photos and character experiences. Make your reservations for Plymouth Meeting Mall’s Santa experiences here – https://www.vipholidayphotos.com/MakeReservation.aspx.
Lehigh Valley Mall
Details seem to still be under wraps, but there’s a page for Santa experiences at the Lehigh Valley Mall’s website! The Lehigh Valley Mall is a Simon Mall along with King of Prussia. The Santa photo sessions seem to be similar from the preliminary details shared. Social distancing Santa photos require reservations and masks. Even Santa and his helpers will be wearing masks!
Additional Places to See Santa
Besides mall Santa photos and the open-air photos and festivals, you may find a few other meaningful ways to see Santa. Consider whether you are open to indoor gatherings or if you’d prefer to wait until non-virus times.
My husband recently told me the Colebrookdale Railroad was nationally recognized as USA Today’s #2 Best Scenic Train Ride – right here in our own backyard. Pretty amazing! I’m not surprised as Colebrookdale’s Polar Bear Express was a very magical experience for our family!
We went a few Decembers ago when the capacity was to the max and admittedly, with small kids, it was tough. We couldn’t even sit with our own kids despite booking for our group and arriving ahead of time, due to couples taking up full booths. The kids didn’t seem to mind, though, and soon we were on our way through the beautiful and picturesque countryside. Soon we realized we could enjoy the views even better – from outside! We all loved the open-air train car so much! It was the perfect way to experience the Colebrookdale Railroad’s Polar Bear Express and to see Santa. (This year, Santa will greet children on the open car where they can bring him their wish lists.
With the train running at only 50% capacity this year, you should have more personal space around you. In fact, Colebrookdale Railroad has published Covid-19 safety guidelines on its website to help promote social distancing as best as possible and safe enjoyment of the experience. Of course, inherent risks of viral spread are possible anyplace people gather, but it’s nice to see businesses still offering opportunities for those who wish to have a more hands-on experience these days. (And for others of us, we look forward to future times when covid is all a distant memory!)
In the past, tickets have sold out in record speed, so I’d act quickly if you hope to go. Check the Colebrookdale website for up-to-date ticket information.
We do really enjoy the Santa photos we took on our visit to the Colebrookdale Railroad those few short years ago. I am so glad we did it as our kids still talk about it!
Santa Experiences Years Past
It’s always fun seeing Santa! Understandably, things are a little different this year.
Over the years we’ve been lucky to see Santa at various attractions throughout Montgomery County, Berks, Bucks County, Delaware County, and beyond. We’ve seen Santa at churches, enjoyed brunch with Santa, and a preschool breakfast with Santa, too. Every year, we look forward to Santa coming through our neighborhood with the firetruck – it’s such an awesome holiday tradition for us.
Copperfield Inn at Lakeside Brunch with Santa
Due to Covid, the Copperfield Inn at Lakeside has decided to cancel their Santa Brunch for Christmas 2020. We fully understand and wish them the best for many future years of Santa Brunch events to come. The photos were lovely last year!
One of our other favorite Santa experiences is the open house and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Pennypacker Mills at 5 Haldeman Road in Schwenksville. I’ve confirmed Pennypacker Mills will not be hosting the open house with Santa photos this year (very understandably!). However, scheduled private guided tours are available for household contact groups of 10 or less people living together in the same home. Tours are free with a suggested donation of $2 per person. Visitors must wear masks and reservations are required.
The gorgeous holiday decorations would be a lovely addition to the more traditional holiday décor you see around town. Although Saint Nick won’t be there for a few snaps with your kids, historic Pennypacker Mills is one of Montgomery County’s best destinations for Christmas decorations and holiday traditions. The early 1900’s holiday décor speaks for itself and Pennypacker Mills brings timeless warmth and memorable ambiance to your holiday experience.
More Information: https://www.montcopa.org/pennypackermills
Lights in the Village Santa Visit
We’ve also enjoyed our annual trips to Lights in the Village by Fairview Village Church. Our daughters enjoyed visiting with Santa, drinking hot chocolate, and taking in all the holiday lights. The characters at Lights in the Village also brightened their day and I can’t say enough great things about this free event. This year, the Lights in the Village three-day event is actually taking on its new style as a drive-though holiday light show! Be sure to check out our wildly popular article, Christmas 2020 Best Local Drive-Thru Holiday Light Shows.
More Information: https://fairviewvillagechurch.com/events/lights-in-the-village/
I will plan to update this post with additional opportunities to visit or get photos with Santa as more are announced. Stay tuned!
I don’t know about you, but I think just about anything goes for photos this year! I can’t wait to see everyone’s creativity – all these socially distanced photos with Santa and some with fun holiday masks! Creative at-home Santa photo shoots, family members dressed up, or alternatives Santa, like the Grinch photo shoots!
Real Santa or not, masks or not, unique Santa photos seem like an apropos way to punctuate 2020!