When you were growing up, did your parents take you to meet Santa at the mall? Maybe you even have a picture of yourself crying on his lap, because when you finally met the big guy himself, you didn’t even know how to react. (Those are some of the best Santa pictures, don’t you think? So funny!)
If your mall Santa memories consist mostly of waiting in long lines with mom, while wearing a button up shirt or itchy tights with your twirly dress, and counting down the minutes until you could finally meet the jolly one, enjoy your hard-earned candy cane, then get back home and into your play clothes, something tells me you would feel a bit differently about 2016’s Fashion Fair Santa experience.
This year, our very own Fashion Fair Santa set got a BIG makeover, courtesy of HGTV. Yup – the same folks who know how to make your home look better than it ever has, have gotten a hold of Santa’s home, and worked their magic!
Santa’s Headquarters (Santa HQ), located in the Center Court area just inside the main entrance to Fashion Fair Mall is designed to provide all children coming to meet Santa with an immersive and magical experience. Gone are the days in which there is nothing to do while waiting your turn, as Santa’ HQ features numerous interactive activities throughout the line’s queue.
Once you arrive, you’ll be able to download a free app that allows you to hold your cell phone up, with the camera lens pointed at various marked spots throughout Santa’s HQ, that come to life when you view them on screen. From playful elves who come out of the woodwork, to views inside Santa’s secret toy shop, you’ll be able to see things not apparent to the naked eye, thanks to the augmented reality app.
In the courtyard of Santa’s HQ, kids will be able to find out whether they are currently residing on Santa’s “naughty” or “nice” list, with the help of one of Santa’s elves. (I’m relieved to share that both my son and I are currently deemed “nice”.)
After you learn of your status, you’ll venture inside Santa’s HQ, where kids will be able to see Santa’s new toy design plans, peek into his toy workshop, take over the Control Center, and have a chance to take an “Elfie Selfie” and watch their face on the body of an Elf, dancing in a fun, animated video.
All the while, parents can enjoy holiday DIY tips and ideas from HGTV on a big screen, mounted on the wall. By looking up into the sky, through the giant telescope, you’ll even get a view of the Christmas Eve night sky.
As you wind your way out the back door of the HQ, you’ll find yourself in front of a fun winter-y backdrop, perfect for taking family pictures, and then, the big moment will be upon you – Jolly St. Nick and his lovely wife, Mrs. Claus, will be there, seated in their sleigh, waiting to meet you and take photos.
If taking Santa photos is a tradition for your family, I’m certain your will find the experience at Fashion Fair to be fun and entertaining from start to finish, and yes, even while you’re waiting in line! I love that HGTV thought to do this, and as a parent – I’m happy that it’s here in Fresno!
Sending out a special thank you to Fashion Fair’s Senior Marketing Manager, Brain Malony for the early tour, so I could share this with all of you awesome FresYes readers in advance of the full insanity of the post-Thanksgiving shopping season :).