The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Visit the man behind the magic: Get your pictures with Santa

Photo courtesy of Cherry Hill Programs
Julia Murphy and Adrian Fleming picture with Santa at the Menlo Park Mall

Christmas time is here and what better way to get into the holiday spirit than to visit Santa Claus? If you’re looking to get into the mood for celebration, take the Candy Cane Lane and a gumdrop boat all the way to the North Pole at the Menlo Park Mall, where the magic truly lives: with Santa.

Everyone knows the famous figure who is said to reside in the North Pole, but makes appearances in malls across the country during Christmas. Santa made his first visit in 1861. The tradition began at Macy’s, where Santa would make surprise visits to children in New York City. For many years, Santa’s popularity continued to rise. In 1943, Arthur French, a Seattle photographer, encountered a child meeting Santa and took a photograph of the gathering. His photo gained popularity, and he began charging one dollar per photograph with Father Christmas. He made over $10,000 in his first December charging for the images.

Due to French’s innovation, going to see Santa was a staple of many people’s childhoods. Senior Sofia Tsarsi said, “I remember being really scared of Santa for a few years, and I would scream and cry and the pictures turned out really funny. After a while, I just got used to it which made my mom much happier.” Many people have their own unique experiences of pictures with Santa, similar to Tsarsi’s, and we wanted to go see Santa to be a part of the magic ourselves.

On a busy day, booking a reservation on might be a safer choice to ensure your meeting with Santa. However, we ventured to the mall stand on a Wednesday after school. Needless to say, we didn’t have many issues with a line. We were expecting to see at least one ecstatic toddler, but we were grateful for our own one-on-one experience.

As we approached Santa’s festive setup, we were greeted by a few embellished trees and Santa’s famous green bench. The layout was accompanied by presents set under the tree and a small sled to the side. Although the decorations cater to a younger audience, returning to Santa’s chair brought back the pure joy that comes with Christmas.

As for Santa himself, he loves being able to make a child’s Christmas memorable. “It’s a really humbling experience,” he said. “When I look in the mirror, all I see is myself in a Santa suit. But the kids see Santa. I love working with them and bringing the holiday spirit.”

However, for only a 10-minute experience, the price was unreasonable. We got 6 photographs and spent about $50 in total. Being teens with shallow bank accounts, it was a dent that was difficult to stomach. Of course, if you have a family with young kids, this is an unforgettable experience that you may not want to pass up.

Nevertheless, pictures with Santa are where memories are made. Whether you were the kid screaming and crying on Santa’s lap like Tsarsi, or you were snuggled up telling him your gift wishlist like we were, Santa is a reminder of pure Christmas spirit, and getting a picture with him is the best holiday keepsake.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Hi's Eye Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *