The Santa photo – for many families, including mine, it’s a mandatory holiday activity. So why do I always wait until the last minute to get that priceless picture? Procrastinating doesn’t exactly fill me with yuletide spirit. No, instead I feel anxiety and regret because I missed so many meaningful and/or less expensive options to interact with the Big Guy in Red.
This year, I’m ditching the stress. Planning and forethought will help me—and hopefully you—reclaim the Santa experience for what it’s meant to be: a joyous family holiday tradition!
1. Classic Santa Photo Opportunities
- Worth investigating: your favorite private photographer might be offering luxurious, boutique holiday photo sessions. For instance, A Smile Like Yours Photography in Lacey will offer Santa portraits by appointment on December 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- The Olympia standby for traditional portraits would be the Capital Mall. He’s already available for pictures Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday hours are 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with special hours on Christmas Eve. A new option this year, Fast Pass, can cut your wait time. Check the website for details!
- Adopt-A-Pet, located at 940 E. Jensen Road in Shelton, will host their Photo Fundraiser on December 10. Families—including pets, of course—pay $15 for two poses from a professional photographer. JPGs are emailed to customers, with prints available for purchase. Walk-ins will be accommodated as possible, but the session only lasts from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Book an appointment by calling 360-898-0089.
- On December 12 and 13, the West Olympia Habitat for Humanity Store will offer free photos with Santa as well as holiday cookies to decorate. The event lasts from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Potty-trained pets are welcome.
2. Breakfast with the Big Guy
- Heads up! Registration for Lacey Parks and Recreation’s Breakfast with Santa closes on December 4. The event itself is on December 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Breakfast and Santa photos will occur at the Lacey Community Center. Tickets are $12 for kids under the age of 17 and $15 for adults.
- Boy Scout Troop 48 hosts a benefit breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 5, between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Olympia. The event costs $5 per person or $20 per family. Kids under the age of 4 attend for free.
- Indian Summer Golf and Country Club will host a buffet-style Santa Brunch on Sunday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Both Santa and Mrs. Claus will attend. Adults pay $20, children from 4 to 12 pay $10, and the 3 and under crowd dine for free. Call 360-459-4572 for reservations.
- Stop by the Capital Mall Applebee’s on Sunday, December 13, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Have some brunch with Santa—proceeds to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County. Tickets are $10 cash per adult. Children 10 and under eat free with a paying adult.
3. Santa Around Town
- From 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on December 3, Huntamer Park is the place to be for an old-fashioned Tree Lighting Ceremony packed with holiday spirit. Santa rolls in on the “Santa Mobile,” a vintage fire engine belonging to Lacey Fire District 3.
- Signing Santa will be at Chambers Prairie Elementary School in Lacey from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4. Santa is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). A larger chair enables kids to sit next to Santa instead of on his lap, making for better communication. Read more about this special event.
- The Tumwater Theatre Company will host its annual Holiday Bazaar on December 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Stop by the Tumwater High School Performing Arts Center for family-friendly activities and treats. Santa will be in attendance.
- Also on December 5, come to the first ever Tree Lighting Ceremony at Ralph’s Thriftway in Olympia. The ceremony is from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Snap a free selfie with Santa.
- Saturday, December 5, also happens to be Kids Day at the Christmas Forest. Hosted by the Red Lion in Olympia, this is a five-day celebration that benefits the Providence St. Peter Foundation. The Hands On Children’s Museum will be present with activities and crafts for Kids Day. Santa will be there, too. The public viewing lasts from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $6 per adult; children under 12 pay $1 each.
4. Santa at Christmas Tree Farms
- Clyde ‘n Dale’s Holiday Trees and Gifts began their 17th season on Friday, November 27. Santa visits for the first three Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hungry families, take heart: you can buy food from an onsite barbecue truck.
- Hunter Family Farm is also now open. Santa will visit during the first three weekends, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On weekends, the farm is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you’re looking for a little extra North Pole magic, be sure to locate their real, live reindeer.
- Schilter Family Farm will host Saturday Santa visits on December 5, and December 12. They also have other fabulous photo backdrops spread throughout their farm, ranging from kooky wood cut-outs to a lighted Nativity inside the 140-year-old barn. The farm is open from 9:00 a.m. to dusk.
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.