Long lines? Stuffy malls? Crying kids? Expensive photo packages? Bring it on! It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the infamous Santa photo! Though it can be a hassle, it’s a beloved tradition for families all around, and so cool to collect the photos from over the years (yes, even the scowling, screaming ones).
The Classic Santa
Despite long lines and expensive photo packages, these Santa venues deliver a hefty dose of holiday spirit and remain a beloved tradition for many families.
Awesome displays, the magic of Downtown Seattle at Christmas, and Elves who hand out cookies and hot cider…it couldn’t be anywhere but the Downtown Nordstrom. The line will most likely be long, but get this– Nordstrom will take your name and page you when it’s your turn to see Santa! There are eight rotating Santas on the schedule, including an African-American Santa and an Asian Santa. There’s even a Santa that knows ASL (American Sign Language). For special needs kids or large groups, Santa can meet you in a smaller room, away from the crowds. Call Santa Lane at 206-628-1000 for more details. **All photos are in film, available for pick up (or delivery) in about 5 days.
Santa Claus will be settling in on the 6th floor this year, along with his elves and reindeer. Have your kids write Santa a letter to mail in his own personal mailbox.
Santa’s Workshop is in full gear at Bell Square. The line wanders through Santa’s shop, and kiddos can get a sneak peek of what the elves have been up to. Santa’s life-size sleigh (reindeer and all) soar above the shoppers, and outside, Snowflake Lane celebrates nightly at 7pm. As with all large mall venues, it’s best if you can rally a grandparent to switch off standing in the line, so you can take your antsy kiddos to play on the 3rd floor boats.
This Santa has a reputation of being one of the most realistic, long beard and all. He’s been around for nearly a decade, and has gained quite a following.
Redmond Town Center
Here are a few photo venues that are a step outside the box , or rather, mall.
Well, it’s an open-air mall at least. Fittingly situated across from Fran’s Chocolates, Santa’s little cabin is cozy and perfect for one-on-one discussions of toys and wish lists. Don’t miss the covered play area and Santa’s sleigh near Ben Bridge. **Every Monday Santa takes photos with pets and a portion of sales from pet photos is donated to the Seattle Humane Society.
Lake Forest Park
Bring back memories from your childhood while you make memories with your own kiddos. The Town Center at Lake Forest Park has the original Santa set from Downtown Seattle’s Frederick & Nelson.
After visiting Santa in his ultra-cool “workship,” kiddos are invited to the cookie decoration station on the Observation Deck where they can decorate a complimentary Christmas cookie.
You won’t find Santa sitting around here. He’ll be up and about every weekend, mingling with shoppers, stopping to pose for photos. The entirety of Molbak’s is like a shrine to Christmas. Always gorgeously decorated, moms will enjoy shopping while kiddos get a kick out of the Christmas villages and Santa himself. Be sure to bring your camera!
Beautiful Poinsettia Christmas Tree
Swanson’s Reindeer Festival
See Dasher and Blitzen during the Reindeer Festival, and take photos with Santa in this neighborhood gem.
Issaquah Reindeer Festival
Visit Santa’s Reindeer team and stop by Santa’s personal post office to mail a letter on your way to his workshop for a photo. There is a ton of holiday excitement going on at the Reindeer Festival @ Cougar Mountain Zoo!
Don’t forget your furry friends when it comes to Santa photos! Here are a few venues that cater to your four-legged little ones.
Home 4 the Holidays & Santa Paws at Seattle Humane Society
The Seattle Humane Society will offer adoption discounts, festive carolers, pet pics with Santa and more at Seattle Humane’s Home for the Holidays Extravaganza! For three days only, adopt one kitten for $50 or two for $90. On Saturday, Dec. 8, have your pet’s photo taken with Santa Paws from 11 am – 2 pm ($20 suggested donation for digital download).
Adoption fees are waived on all cats 1 year and up and all critters through December.
Bring in your pet for a photo with Santa for only $9.95 with Pet Perks®. Plus, $5 from every purchase will be donated to the local animal-welfare organization participating that day!
Santa Paws at the Alexis Hotel
It’s time again for a fun annual holiday tradition. Bring your pets to the pet-friendly Alexis Hotel in downtown Seattle the weekend of December 8-9 to have their photo taken with Santa Paws! With a $15 donation, you’ll be sent a wonderful keepsake digital photo, ideal for printing and framing. All proceeds benefit the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) and our efforts to help enrich the lives of shelter animals.
The event takes place Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m
Happy Santa Photos!!