coronavirus Christmas

Christmas Guide: Where to See Santa Claus This Holiday Season

Malls said Santa will be there to keep holiday spirits high this Christmas season

Although the pandemic will make the holidays look a bit different this year, Santa Claus is still welcoming visitors at many malls across the Chicago area.

Several malls have announced different plans for keeping the holiday spirit alive this year, some bringing Santa in person and others opting for a virtual experience.

Here is a list of some malls in the Chicago area that Santa plans to visit:

Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops in the Chicago area announced that families will be able to visit Santa Claus this year in a reimagined, free "Santa's Wonderland."

"With countless activities cancelled and many families dealing with added stress, we feel it’s more important than ever to provide some free Christmas magic and help safely create cherished holiday memories," Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said.

Due to the coronavirus, Bass Pro Shops will require a digital reservation, face coverings and temperature checks. Families will have a contactless experience separate from other shoppers, according to a release.

Chicago Ridge Mall

This holiday season, Santa Claus will come to Chicago Ridge Mall and visit with families through a contactless experience, the mall announced.

"While keeping two elves apart, the holiday spirit is alive with holiday décor, promotions and socially-distanced holiday activities," Chicago Ridge General Manager Steven Yee said.

Guests will be required to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing throughout the duration of the visit. Santa and employees will be required to have their temperatures checked before visits.

Fox Valley Mall

Starting Nov. 27, Santa will be visiting with families on a set based on the "Peanuts" story "A Charlie Brown Christmas," the mall said.

“The new ‘Peanuts Christmas Experience with Santa’ set at Fox Valley Mall is an incredibly nostalgic experience that transports people to a world filled with awe and wonder,” says Scott Samson, Senior General Manager for the shopping center.

The mall's "Peanuts Christmas Experience with Santa" incorporates the traditional Santa visit with entertainment and a walk-through experience.

Gurnee Mills

Arriving Nov. 27, Santa will be available for socially-distanced visits and photos until Christmas Eve, the mall announced.

Both Santa and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the duration of each visit.

Hawthorn Mall

Seated on a set inspired by the film, "Elf," Santa will arrive in Vernon Hills on Nov. 27 at 10 a.m., the mall announced.

“It’s something innovative and different that will bring people together to take part in this new twist on the traditional Santa visit," Jeff Rutzen, General Manager, Hawthorn Mall, said. "By immersing themselves in some of the most memorable scenes from the hit movie ‘Elf,’ guests will truly feel like they have become part of the story.”

Visitors will have a walk-through experience with a "selfie museum" and augmented reality interactions before seeing Santa. All interactions will occur from six feet away and require masks be worn through the duration of the visit.

Lincolnwood Town Center

Beginning Nov. 27, families can visit with Santa in Lincolnwood while maintaining social distancing with a recommended reservation, the mall said. Employees will be required to clean and undergo temperatures checks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

"Visits with Santa will have a strong focus on health and safety, yet still allow for a fun and memorable experience for children and families," a spokesperson said. "Children will have the opportunity to pose for a picture with Santa during their visit to Lincolnwood Town Center’s North Pole."

The mall is also offering digital experiences throughout the season for people "more comfortable visiting Santa from home."

Macy's Chicago

Macy's announced last month that Santa will not be greeting kids at its Chicago store this year due to the coronavirus, but rather host a virtual experience for families.

“Moving to a virtual engagement will safely bring the magic of Santa Claus to children of all ages this year," Macy's said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Santa also will not be visiting for the holidays at Macy's New York or San Francisco stores, but will appear in the televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, the company said.

Northbrook Court

Santa will be greeting in-person visitors this Christmas in Northbook beginning Nov. 27 while seated atop decorated packages, the mall announced.

"Visits and photos with Santa Claus are some of the most beloved and sacred traditions of the year," a Brookfield Properties spokesperson said. "As we began to plan for a holiday season unlike any other, we wanted to do all that we could to preserve the magic of this experience while still keeping our guests as safe as possible."

Families can expect Santa to be wearing a mask during the visit and hand sanitizers placed at the entrance and exit. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.

Oakbrook Center

Starting Nov. 20, Santa will be at Oakbrook Center greeting families from a sleigh in the mall, a spokesperson announced.

Santa and all employees will have daily temperature checks while wearing a mask throughout the visit. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.

Old Orchard Mall

Old Orchard announced the mall will have a new holiday experience this winter from socially-distanced visits with Santa to virtual scavenger hunts and the new "Grinch's Grotto."

“We are looking forward to bringing joy and festive moments to the community this upcoming holiday season while continuing to keep our guests’ health and safety a top priority,” Serge Khalimsky, General Manager Westfield Old Orchard, said.

The mall requires guests to maintain social distancing, wear face coverings, and abide by capacity limits. Old Orchard said stores will promote curbside pickup and a new app for picking up items this holiday season.

Orland Square Mall

Santa will arrive in Orland Park for socially-distanced visits and photos Nov. 27 until Christmas Eve, the mall announced.

Both Santa and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the duration of each visit.

Spring Hill Mall

Seated on decorated packages, Santa will begin visiting with families in West Dundee on Nov. 27, the mall announced.

Santa will be wearing a mask during the visit and families can expect hand sanitizers placed at the entrance and exit. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.

Water Tower Place

Santa will arrive in downtown Chicago Nov. 20, greeting families from a sleigh inside the Water Tower Place, a spokesperson announced.

"Our hope is that by continuing to offer the opportunity to carry out these traditions, we will not only help spread the joy of the holidays, but bring a sense of normalcy to the communities in which we operate," a spokesperson said.

All employees and Santa will have daily temperature checks while wearing a mask throughout the visit. Reservations are encouraged, but not required.

White Oaks Mall

Santa will be available for socially-distanced visits and photos at White Oaks Mall beginning Nov. 27 until Christmas Eve, the mall announced.

Both Santa and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the duration of each visit.

Woodfield Mall

Santa will arrive in Schaumburg Nov. 20 for socially-distanced visits and photos until Christmas Eve, the mall announced.

Both Santa and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the duration of each visit.

Yorktown Center

Beginning Nov. 24, families can have a contactless visit with Santa at Yorktown Center Court until Christmas Eve, according to a mall spokesperson.

"While we understand the holidays may look different this year, we are thrilled and dedicated to making sure your traditions continue to be magical," the spokesperson said.

Santa, visitors and staff will all be required to wear face coverings and remain six feet from one another for all photos. Pets can also take photos with Santa on Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15 and 17.

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