Say Cheese! 14 Photo-Worthy Santas Worth the Wait

We parents make the holidays so difficult sometimes, whether it’s dressing the kiddos up in scratchy Christmas outfits, making them wait in long lines for hours, or insisting they sit on some bearded dude’s lap just so we can get our treasured Santa photo. Do they really remember that we go to the same Santa every year? Probably not, but it sure makes for a seriously awesome Christmas tradition. To help minimize the Santa photo stress, we’ve rounded up the best places to seek out your St. Nick nirvana. Choosing the least meltdown-inducing matching Christmas sweaters for your mini-mes? That one’s up to you.

The Ultimate Santa: Downtown Nordstrom
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The Ultimate Santa: Downtown Nordstrom

Before there was a Nordstrom Santa, generations of Seattleites would stand in line for hours for a chance to visit with the Frederick & Nelson Santa in downtown Seattle, placing tiny hands on intricate window displays. For the current generation of kiddos, 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 eleven rotating Santas on the schedule, including an African-American Santa and an Asian-American Santa. There’s even a Santa that knows ASL (American Sign Language). 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 for additional details (or call him up if your kiddo just needs to hear Santa’s kind voice). In addition to Santa at the Downtown Nordstrom, kids can visit him (with much shorter wait times) at the Nordstroms in Bellevue Square, Southcenter, and Tacoma Mall. All photo packages will be mailed to you once completed; if you want them before Christmas, make sure to visit Santa before December 18. Photo packages range from $21 to $80.

Dates: November 29 – December 24

Downtown Nordstrom
500 Pine Street
Seattle, Wa 98101

Bellevue Square Nordstrom
100 Bellevue Way SE
Bellevue, Wa 98004

Southcenter Mall Nordstrom
100 Southcenter Mall
Tukwila, Wa 98188

  1. The Ultimate Santa: Downtown Nordstrom
  2. Step Inside Santa’s House: University Village
  3. Interplanetary Santa: The Space Needle
  4. Bring Your Pets: Redmond Town Center
  5. Bring Your Camera: Molbak’s
  6. Next

Where is your favorite place to take the kiddos for Santa photos every year? Let us know in a comment below!

–Erin Cranston & Allison Ellis

Photos credits: Fred Jala via Flickr, Katie Christiansen, Space Needle Facebook page,, Erin Cranston, Heidi Larsen, Danielle Dolbec, Janine Vazquez, Christmas Creek Farm website, Arin Winsor, Museum of Flight and Wing Luke Museum Facebook page

For more holiday events and activities near Seattle click here!