Here's the reality of visiting Santa at the mall. Are you ready? It's not really mind-blowing, but it's the most important thing to know:
You're going to wait in line.
Yup. That's right. And, if your kids are anything like, most kids, they could easily move from the "nice list" to the "naughty list" in the time it takes to go from the entry elf to the big guy in red.
The nicest part of Santa HQ, for me, is that they understand this reality. Instead of winding your way through endless miles of rope partitions, you get to wind your way through various rooms with different entertainment features.
This is my 7 year old, and her response is the one you want to worry about. We've always been very honest about our views on Santa, which you can feel however you want about, but she likes him anyway.
So, here's Santa HQ:
When you first enter, you get to check to make sure that you're not wasting your time. I mean, who'd want to get all the way to Santa only to find out they were actually on the naughty list?
Here's the Naughty or Nice O'Meter. Children step up, enter their name, and then stand on the footprints to get a reading on how naughty or nice they are. Spoiler alert, I'm pretty sure everyone is nice ;) Here's Savannah's reading:
I have to say, I think that's pretty accurate. She's a good kid :)
Next, you pass through a brief outdoor section lined with Christmas trees. This is a good time to take pictures of your children pretending to be reindeer.
Excellent. Next, we're onto the HGTV living room, where you can create and email yourself an Elf video, sit on the sofa and relax, and enjoy the overall holiday ambiance.
Next you enter a control room, which has some really cool interactive features that a crew member will help you see using special tablets. My kids were a little too old to want to play much with the control panel, but they did enjoy the fact that they thought it was making "TARDIS sounds" and were joking about Santa being an incarnation of the Doctor.
Finally, you get to Santa. I can't show you a picture from that because cell phones are verboten, but the santa is quite good. Our pictures were par for the course for a mall kiosk picture, and because we were there on a day with a school full of radio winners I just got the first image, not to pick. We actually have some cute images on our online file and I might order one of them :)
You can visit Santa's Headquarters in the Fashion Court at Tysons Corner Center near Nordstrom. Santa HQ will be available November 14-December 24, 2015. For operating hours and more details, please click here.