I distinctly remember the night. My daughters had just turned 2. We were at a Christmas party and Santa was there with a small present for each child. We waited patiently to see him at our assigned time. My daughters expressed all the excitement one would expect from two little girls about to meet Santa for the first time.
Then it was our turn. My two little girls turned into two tiny octopuses, leeched onto my arms. The photo is humorous – two girls looking like they are trying to escape, Santa sitting on the floor, trying to seem more approachable. At least I was smiling and looking at the camera!
Fast forward to today. My girls are days away from their 5th birthday. They insist that this year they want to see Santa. Reflecting on past hesitations, I want to find a different experience that might make this first visit both more comfortable and more memorable.
West Edmonton Mall has the answer! Their Santa By Appointment program allows families to visit Santa at a pre-scheduled time, without waiting in line. Up to 10 people can visit Santa at once. Families receive both digital and printed photos AND get 4 mini attraction admissions that can be used for Marine Life, the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace, Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf, Dragon’s Tale or Crystal Labyrinth Mirror Maze. Booking start at just $99. For us, it’s an absolute no-brainer!
We visited the Santa By Appointment suite on the afternoon of December 1. We were warmly welcomed and taken in to Santa’s special room right on time. Santa spoke to my daughters by name. He showed them a collar of bells that belonged to Rudolph and read part of a book called “Santa in Edmonton”. My little E was still nervous and clinging to my side, but she wanted to see and hear the story.
This Santa had a wonderful way with my kids and made them comfortable. Several of the photos include our whole family, or me and the girls, but eventually he encouraged them to sit in the sleigh and he perched nearby. Close enough for a great photo, but not too close to scare anyone!
There are beautiful set options for the photos, including Santa’s chair by the fireplace, Santa’s sleigh and a snowy scene with two adorable polar bears!
At the end of our visit, Santa offered the girls a treat to take home – Fresh snow, direct from the North Pole! (They would excitedly tell me later that it was cotton candy!) He asked if we had any questions for him. We grilled him on how the sleigh really flies and asked about the type of cookies we should leave on Christmas Eve. (For the record, he told us he loves all types, but that homemade are his favourite!)
As the girls sampled their “snow”, the fantastic team showed me the professional photos that had been snapped during our visit. (72 in total!) All were emailed to me, and I got to choose 2 to have printed out on site. Each photo can be printed as large as 8×10 or as small as a sheet of wallets. After that, we bid Santa farewell, and set off for Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf for a round of mini-golf! There must have been a little magic lingering, because I won another free game of mini-golf! We’ll be heading back for more soon, but in the meantime, it seems we have some cookies to bake!
Santa By Appointment at West Edmonton Mall:
When: November 30 to December 24, 2019
Time: Monday to Friday 4 pm to 8 pm, Saturday 11 am to 8 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm
Where: West Edmonton Mall, 8882 – 170 Street, Edmonton
The writer was a guest of Santa By Appointment at West Edmonton Mall. Her opinions are her own and West Edmonton Mall did not review or edit this story.
Although we do our best to provide you with accurate information, all event details are subject to change. Please contact the facility to avoid disappointment.