Searching for Santa in 2020: How To Safely See Santa in Greater Vancouver

Santa Visits

There’s no doubt that the holidays will look a little different this year. But that doesn’t mean it has to be any less fun for families. Think of it as tradition, with a twist: a Christmas season full of old and new that might require a bit more flexibility for last-minute changes when it comes to our favourite annual activities.

And at the top of the list: a visit to Santa at the local shopping center. It’s a tradition that often kicks off the holiday season, with little ones lining up to whisper their secrets to the Big Guy in time for the elves to get busy in the workshop on all those hopeful wishes.

Typically, the schedule for Santa’s arrival is already finalized by now. But this year, preparations are a little more complex than simply setting up Santa’s court and decorating the trees. Local malls in the Vancouver region have been carefully considering local health recommendations and protocols while preparing plans that may include distance visits with Santa, virtual events, or other activities – and all with the knowledge that plans may change quickly, throughout the coming weeks.

SavvyMom checked in with several local malls, including those managed by Cadillac Fairview (which operates Pacific Centre in Vancouver and Richmond Centre in Richmond) as well as Ivanhoe Cambridge (Metrotown, Tsawwassen Mills and Guildford Town Centre) and organizers are urging families to check their websites and social media channels regularly, as plans will be posted as soon as they’re finalized. Other malls in the region will be posting details, as well. Check out our full listing of websites and social media links below.

And if a visit to Santa isn’t in the cards for your family this year, here are some fun alternatives to help get in the spirit.

A Few Fun Alternatives

Virtual Santa Canada | virtualsanta-canada.ca

When: December 3-6

Price:
Regular Sessions start at $34.99 per session. VIP sessions are $149.99 per session

What it looks like:
Regular tickets include a special session with Santa Claus for up to 10 families at a time. The session will feature personalized Santa greetings to each family, a short story, plus one-on-one time for families to take their own individual photos or screenshots with Santa, and have their children tell Santa what they would like for Christmas.

VIP tickets provide children with 15 minutes of one-on-one time with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The session will include a personalized Santa greeting, a story with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas gift requests and an opportunity for families to take a virtual photo or screenshot with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. If you’ve got friends or family in your cohort who would like to share in teh experience, invite them along!

PNE Winter Lights | pne.ca/winterlights

When:
Check out the holiday magic at the PNE fairgrounds December 11 to 13 and 17 to 23 with a night-time drive-through event.

What it looks like:
Visitors will drive through a two-kilometre route of nine enchanted lands full of glowing lights, with performers and special characters along the way to Santa. Visitors will drive through Dreamland, with a magical pegasus and unicorn and a teddy bear brigade, and iceberg caves and igloos in the Polar North, to name a few. A 50-foot purple Christmas tree will lead the way to Santa and his elves. Tickets need to be pre-booked in advance and are limited. Ticket prices vary depending on size of vehicle/number of occupants.

Live Calls With Santa | livecallswithsanta.com

What it looks like:
Make an appointment for a one-on-one video call with Santa with Live Calls with Santa. Make it a special night from home with some holiday treats and Christmas music to warm up before Santa calls. The two-way video will be recorded so you can watch it later. Appointments must be booked in advance and Santa can be scheduled to visit corporate events, as well.

Canada Post

What it looks like: 
Canada Post receives mail for Santa and will deliver Santa’s reply, for letters sent to:

Santa Claus
North Pole
HOH OHO
Canada

Details of the program are here: How to Get Your Letter to Santa

NORAD

When:
The annual NORAD Santa Tracker website opens on December 1, with Santa tracking starting on December 23.

What it looks like:
The community outreach program is part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and has been running each Christmas since 1955. Check out the site here

Google

What it looks like:
Google hosts its own Santa tracker website, as well. It has a variety of animations, games and activities that change throughout the holiday season for kids to enjoy – and of course, tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Explore the website here

The Elf Yourself website

What it looks like:
On this site, you can upload photos of you and your friends or loved ones to make a comical holiday-themed dancing elf video, complete with festive music. The videos can be shared or downloaded, to save for later. Check out the fun here

 

Where to Find Information for Santa Visits

Here are the websites and social media links for local malls that typically host Santa visits. Check back regularly for plans to be posted (or alternatively, for announcements that visits will be on hiatus this year) and for regular updates throughout the season:

 

LOUGHEED TOWN CENTRE

Photos with Santa: thecityoflougheed.com/photos-with-santa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecityoflougheed/

Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/thecityoflougheed/

 

METROPOLIS AT METROTOWN

Holiday Plans: metropolisatmetrotown.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/metropolisatmet

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/metropolisatmet/

 

GUILDFORD TOWN CENTRE

Holiday Plans: guildfordtowncentre.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopgtc

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shopgtc/

 

RICHMOND CENTRE

Website: cfshops.com/richmond-centre

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CFRichmondCentre

Instagram: https://instagram.com/CFRichmondcentre

 

LANSDOWNE CENTRE

Website: lansdowne-centre.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lansdownecentrerichmond/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lansdownecentrebc/

 

TSAWWASSEN MILLS

Website: tsawwassenmills.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TsawwassenMills/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tsawwassenmills/

 

CENTRAL CITY MALL

Website: centralcity.ca/events

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/centralcity

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/centralcitysurrey/

 

COQUITLAM CENTRE

Website: coquitlamcentre.com/events

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coquitlamcentre/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coquitlamcentre/

 

WILLOWBROOK

Virtual Visits with Santa: shopwillowbrook.com/events

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WillowbrookShoppingCentre/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shopwillowbrook/

 

SEVEN OAKS SHOPPING CENTRE

Website: shopsevenoaks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopsevenoaks

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/shopsevenoaks/

 

PARK ROYAL

Holiday Family Portraits & Santa Visits: shopparkroyal.com/santa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Parkroyal

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/parkroyal/

 

 

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