The obligatory mall Santa photo. It’s a holiday right of passage for many babes-in-arms and seasoned vets, alike. Proof that Mr. Claus is indeed making a list and checking it twice. If a meeting with the holly jolly big guy himself is a staple of your Christmas, no matter how long the line is, we’ve rounded up some of the swiftest and merriest Winter Wonderlands at ye ole’ shoppin’ malls. These just-like-the-real-thing Santas will have your kid smiling (or, let’s keep it real, screaming) from ear to ear.

5276574704_67665596c3_zPhoto: denizen8 via flickr

Santa at Tysons Galleria
The great thing about visiting Santa at Tyson’s II (aside from indulging in window shopping at Neiman Marcus, Gucci, and Coach of course) is that you can reserve your turn online! Now your little ones will shine bright like the Christmas star instead of acting like wild stallions who’ve been waiting for hours. Bonus: when you book your spot online to see Santa, you can also save up to 30% off your photo package. Merry Christmas indeed.

2001 International Dr. (McLean, Va)
703-827-7730
Online: tysonsgalleria.com

Santa at Mazza Gallerie
Pint sized fashionistas will adore Mazza’s own version of Santa’s Workshop with its fancy Santa chair–perfect for holding multiple siblings who’ve waited patiently (we can hope) for their turn to whisper their dreams into Santa’s ear–oodles of golden wrapped presents, little (or big) toy soldiers, and Santa’s elves who busy themselves entertaining kiddos and working hard making toys for the big day.

5300 Wisconsin Ave., NW
202-966-6114
Online: mazzagallerie.com

Santa at Dulles Town Center
Families who want a picture with Jolly Ole’ Saint Nick, but don’t have a lot of free time should check Santa’s Dulles Town Center schedule…stat. There are more times to get your little elves’ pictures with Santa than presents will fit on his sleigh. So whether you’re pressed for time, and need to get your pictures done ASAP, or want to wait a few more weeks for the Christmas Spirit to descend upon you, you’ll have the pick of the times when you visit Santa at Dulles Town Center.

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21100 Dulles Town Cir. (Dulles, Va)
703-404-7120
Online: shopdullestowncenter.com

Santa at the Mall at Prince Georges
If you’re eager for a traditional visit with Santa at the mall, but your kiddos are not very patient, then the Fast Pass at the Mall at Prince Georges is perfect for you. You can reserve the perfect timeslot for you, and if a specific time works better for your spouse, you can pay an extra $1 for a “premium” slot. And, who knows, maybe the guy with a bowl full of jelly in a red suit will put something extra nice in your stocking for being so thoughtful to those around you.
3500 East West Hwy, Route 410 (Hyattsville, Md)
301-559-8844
Online: mallatprincegeorges.com

Where have you seen a great Santa? Tell us in the comments section below. 

–Hilary Riedemann