No matter how you celebrate the holidays, they will definitely be looking different this year. While 2020 may have canceled many fun, holiday traditions this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is getting the opportunity to meet the one and only Santa Claus. Whether it be virtually or in-person, there are still a few locations that are offering the chance for your little ones to see Santa and tell him what’s on their Christmas list.
Psst! Looking for more holiday activities for your family to enjoy? Check out: The Best Ice Skating Rinks in New York City for Families in 2020
For example, Macy’s has moved their annual Santaland event online, allowing kids to see Santa virtually while other places like the Onderdonk House and the Queens Center are following the state mandated social distancing guidelines and mask policies to protect their guests and themselves. Whichever way your children see Santa this year, the experience is sure to brighten their spirits and create lasting memories.
Where Your Kids Can See Santa This Year
Macy's Santaland at Home - Virtual
Bring this magical experience to your home with Macy’s Santaland at Home. From November 27 through December 24, this fun and safe alternative can be experienced anywhere at any time. All you need is internet connection and some imagination to enjoy this spectacular event.
The event begins with a virtual journey to the North Pole via train. Santa’s elves will guide you on your journey to Santaland where, once you arrive, can play fun, interactive games while taking in the wondrous sights of Santa’s village and workshop.
Once you reach your destination, guests will have the chance to meet Santa Claus himself. Here, they will have the opportunity to tell Santa what they would like for the holidays before taking a FREE, commemorative photo with him.
And this best part about Macy’s Santaland at Home is that it’s all free!
Vander Ende-Onderdonk House - In-Person - Ridgewood
If you are looking for a more traditional Santa Claus experience, check out Vander Ende at the Onderdonk House’s 40th St. Nicholas Day Celebration on December 5 from 12 pm – 5 pm. As you wait in line to meet the big man in red himself, enjoy a complimentary cup of hot apple cider and a cookie and receive a seasonal craft and goody bag.
Due to Covid-19, the celebration has a few restrictions. Masks are required both outside and inside the House Museum and must be worn during your photo session with St. Nicholas. There can be up to five people in your party. Larger parties will have to buy an extra ticket and be split up. Tickets are $10 per family and are timed. They recommend dressing warmly for the event and showing up on time for your session.
Tip, for in-person Santa visits please check the website day of visit to assure there have not been any changes due to COVID.
Santa's Club - Virtual
If you are looking for another virtual holiday celebration, check out the Santa’s Club. Like the Santaland event, it’s a virtual experience where you and your family can meet Santa. However, instead of taking photos with Santa, you get the chance to keep a video of your family’s interaction with Santa.
The Santa Club has three packages:
For $34, your child receive a personalized video message from Santa. It delivers within 72 hours of purchase.
For $49.99, your child can meet Santa live from the North Pole. This experience includes a live conversation with Santa. It can be personalized for up to three children and comes with a keepsake video of the experience.
For $64.99, your child still gets to meet Santa live from the North Pole, but they will also receive a mailed invitation along with a Magical Letter from the North Pole and a personalized wristband. Like the $49.99 package, the experience includes a live conversation with Santa that can be personalized for up to three children. At the end, you will receive a keepsake video.
Queen's Center - In-Person - Elmhurst
Keep the holiday tradition of seeing Santa by booking a reservation at the Queens Center. Starting November 20, Santa will be meeting with all the good boys and girls to listen to what they would like for Christmas. At the end, commemorate the experience with a photo.
To ensure the safety of Santa and your family, a few guidelines have been placed. Masks are required by everyone over the age of 2. Hand sanitizer will be available before and after each meeting with Santa. The set will be deep cleaned for all meetings and will be following social distance guidelines.
North Pole Express by Top View - In-Person - Midtown
Take a holiday journey with Santa on the North Pole Express. Enjoy the sights of New York while sipping on a delicious cup of hot chocolate and munching on scrumptious cookies. Meet the Express Conductor, one of Santa’s elves, and, of course, Santa.
This trip has two packages:
The North Pole Express Standard Experience is $49 and includes a 45 minute journey where you get to meet the Express Conductor and Santa. Activities included on this trip are: looking at North Pole Christmas lights, writing a letter to Santa, Christmas caroling, and meeting Santa.
The North Pole Express Enhanced experience is $79 and includes a one hour and 15 minute trip. What separates this package from the Standard Experience is that the route is longer, so there are more sights. One of Santa’s elves will be joining your bus journey, in addition to your Express Conductor, and there will be storytelling onboard. Just like in the Standard Experience, children will still get to write a letter to Santa, partake in Christmas caroling, and meet Santa.
AskSanta - Virtual
Like Macy’s Santaland event, AskSanta is a free, virtual experience that can be used anywhere, at any time, and on any device. AskSanta is designed to bring holiday joy and wonder to children of all ages. What separates Santaland from AskSanta is that the the Santa AI, powered by StoryFile, is meant to be a natural conversation between Santa and the children, like they would have if they had visited him at the mall or a holiday event.
In order for your children to interact with the Santa AI, all you need to do is create an account. Then, whenever your children are ready, click on the video and have them talk into the microphone. Santa will then respond and talk to them. If your children are uncertain about how to begin their conversation with Santa, there is even an icon that gives them conversation starters.
The Santa AI has other neat features too. You get to hear him answer questions about his reindeer and elves, about how he gives gifts, and learn more about the North Pole. Also, AskSanta is partnering with StoryFile and the Red Sled Santa Foundation and taking donations for the American Heart Association.