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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Great Santa Pics Are In The Bag!

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Best Family Pics HGTV Santa HQ

I like giving you a quick 1-2-3 overview so when you get interrupted by something, you'll still walk away with good useful info. On the radio I've learned to talk in quick little soundbites, and as a Mom I've learned that I don't have time for wordy explanations in general. Right mama? #momsgetitdone

1. Your traditional Santa pics are in the bag! Plus BONUS: At Santa HQ a friendly elf takes a a family pic in a beautifully decorated Santa-free zone.I thought that was genius because some little ones get overwhelmed when they see the big man in red. This calm photo-op makes sure you will leave with pictures you can love and share on Facebook and send to Grandparents.

2. Keep those kids happy! Fun and engaging activities from the first moment. There are so many smart ways to avoid any boring downtime on the way to your picture destination. All moms know: Kids + Waiting In Line, don't mix. And even though our line today moved really fast, it was helpful to have all these digital entertainment stations along the way.

3. Synchronized music show like a theme-park parade of lights! The entertainment all around us was gorgeously styled, but what else would you expect from a style hub like HGTV? As you'll see on my Instagram Live videos there was so much to look at. The experience is so entertaining I almost forgot we were there to get pictures taken. The whole fam loved it.

Now click over here and book your super easy appointment to see Santa near you!


I believe there are about 15 different destinations at Macerich Shopping Centers. On the website you can search for the one that makes the most sense for your family. We went to The Oaks on a Sunday, which would be unheard of, but because of my standing appointment it was totally stress-free. We hit the Food Court for a little lunch before we grabbed some Holiday cheeseballs and sausage for the house. We were in and out of there in less than an hour. I kid you not.

Awesome Food Court Lunch After Mall Santa Pics

At Santa HQ, may I recommend you use a complimentary selfie-stick like I did and document your fun on social media? My kids were laughing with me, and at me, as I posted on Facebook Stories.

A must-do is the Naught & Nice meter. My son looked a tinsy bit nervous before stepping on the digital scale that scans to see how well the child has been behaving. He came up juuuust about the line, and made it on the Nice List. It was like Santa really was watching! Very accurate. And by the way, my son was extremely well behaved for the rest of the day. Thanks Santa ;-)

The Elfie Selfie station was a big winner. We all took pictures of ourselves on Santa's ipad. Then the machine put our faces on animated elfs. The end result was a the Cruz family starring in our own dancing music video! Hilariousness. What kid doesn't love to see their mom dressed like a tiny elf and doing the electric slide?

For Dad and Mom I just want you to know that there was a couch and big screen TV with all of our favorite HGTV personalities sharing Holiday moments. It was so comfy and definitely a favorite spot for the Dads! I loved looking at all the Family Pictures of HGTV show personalities like Chip & Joanna Gaines, Property Bros Drew & Jonathon and more.

Food Network HGTV Holiday Magazines

In the spirit of the season they have a station where any visitor can donate a new unwrapped toy for charity. These special toys are distributed to local charity organizations thanks to HGTV's Help Through Holiday Giving Drive.

I believe in the magic of making momlife easier, so the Santa HQ experience will become a family tradition for years to come. "I can't wait to take Santa pictures at the mall with the kids again next year!" said no mom ever, until now.

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