The holiday season abounds with traditions. And photos with the big guy in red is right at the top of that merry list. To help minimize the Santa photo stress this year, we’ve rounded up the best places to seek out St. Nick. Choosing the least meltdown-inducing matching Christmas sweaters for your mini-mes? That one’s up to you.

The Ultimate Santa: Downtown Nordstrom

If you grew up around the Seattle area, chances are you and your siblings had photos taken with the Frederick and Nelson’s Santa, and remember waiting impatiently in line, dressed to the nines while you drank in all the magic and splendor of Santa’s Workshop. For the current generation of kids, Nordstrom has captured this magic – and then some. Yes, the wait is still long—getting there early in the day and season is highly advised—but now the downtown Nordstrom has a multitude of rotating Santas on the schedule, including an African-American Santa, an Asian-American Santa and a Santa that knows ASL (American Sign Language). And once again, you won't have to wait outside in the cold to see the big guy in red. Just leave your cell number with the elves and you'll receive a text alert when it's time to enter. Once inside Santa's Lane, there will be a wait time of approximately 45 minutes to an hour, but at least your toes will be warm and toasty!

For special needs kids or large groups, Santa can meet up with you in a private room, away from the hubbub. If any of these preferences sound good to you, be sure to call Santa Lane at 206-628-1000 and follow Nordstrom Downtown Seattle on Twitter or Facebook for additional details, including wait times and diversity Santa hours. (Or call him up if your kiddo just needs to hear Santa’s kind voice).

Good to Know: In addition to Santa at the Downtown Seattle Nordstrom, kids can visit him (with much shorter wait times) at the Nordstrom stores at Bellevue Square, Westfield Southcenter and Tacoma Mall. All photo packages will be mailed to you once completed. Psst! If you want them before Christmas, make sure to visit Santa by Dec. 16, 2016.

Dates: Nov. 25–Dec. 24, 2016
Times: View schedule on Facebook

Cost: Photo packages range from $22 to $87.

500 Pine St. (on the corner of 6th & Pine)
Seattle, Wa 98101

photo: Nordstrom Facebook page

Where is your favorite place to take the kids for Santa photos? Tell us in the Comments below!

— Erin Cranston & Kristina Moy