This is a sponsored blog post; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me to share my experience with HGTV Santa HQ at Freehold Raceway Mall.
Your Freehold Mall Santa Experience Has Been Elevated!
I can remember visiting Santa at my local mall as a child. We would be there shopping and in an area outside one of the anchor stores was Santa. He sat on a platform with no fanfare, and was visible to all passing by. I imagine there had to be a photographer available, since we have photographic evidence of those visits but it certainly wasn’t a picturesque or particularly fun setting! Today – visiting Santa at a New Jersey mall is an experience! Part tech playground, part Christmas wonderland, full magical experience, the HGTV Santa HQ at our local mall is one of my kids’ favorite places to visit during the holiday season.
The HGTV Santa HQ has 15 locations across the US, and lucky for us one of those is just a few miles away at Freehold Raceway Mall. We spent a rainy Friday night at the mall recently and to our kids’ delight, it was Santa’s first night! No reason we gave could keep them away, not “it’s too early for Santa,” “you don’t have your lists ready,” or “you’re not even dressed for a photo!” Their eyes lit up upon seeing the elaborate set up, and we had to allow them a visit. With a 13 year old daughter and an 8 year old son I’m often reminded that our time for the Santa magic is limited but my daughter’s excitement proved that you’re never too old for Santa.
2018 HGTV Santa HQ activities you can expect at participating NJ Malls
- Easy access to Santa! Want to visit Santa at a peak time? Make your reservation in advance here! It’s so easy to do and could prevent some major meltdowns if the lines are long. Select your date and time online, and select and even pre-pay your preferred photo package. Find yourself at the mall and can’t resist Santa? You can certainly just walk in to HGTV Santa HQ at Freehold Raceway Mall and see the big guy (we did!). With a quick check in with an elf helper and some information given to them we were on our way in!
- Between check in and Santa is Elf Academy and more. With multiple interactive digital technology features that will amaze your kids, it’s a fun trip through a world of elves that will delight your little ones. Get ready to enjoy the following:
- The Magic Mirror: Stand in front of a screen and see yourself transform into one of four of Santa’s elves: Hazel, Ruby, Jack and Strawberry. Then choose which of their outfits is your favorite! Before we even made it to Santa I had three “elfies” in my email each from my children.
- Elf-ID: Also emailed to me immediately was the Elf-ID for my new elves, “Beasty” and “Lola.” After answering questions about their likes, a cute personalized “card” was generated.
- My favorite was the “Naughty or Nice Meter.” Both were nice, of course, but one was nicer than another and that gave us a laugh!
- Santa’s Observatory is your last stop before Santa himself. Explore with Elf-Ray vision in 2D and 3D, and enjoy a light show to the tune of Carol of the Bells.
- Time for the main event, some one on one time with Santa in his sleigh! One of the HQ elves will guide you to a bench to take some photos before seeing Santa (these were included in our digital download) and then it’s time to sit with the man of the hour. The photographer will snap away while Santa intently listens to your kids hopes and wishes. He even called me over to chat about if they’ve been good this year. Bring an unwrapped toy for the HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Toy Drive, located near Santa. With the purchase of the standard Santa photo package we came home with one 5×7 (that got framed right away!), 1 4×6 and 4 wallet size Santa photos of our choice. My email with all photos as a digital download came a few hours later.
Watch this video of Santa HQ
So maybe it was “too early,” or they weren’t “dressed right,” but my children had a great time visiting with Santa at the HGTV Santa HQ at Freehold Raceway Mall. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask to check in with Santa each time we’re at the mall this holiday season!
For more information about HGTV’s Santa HQ at Freehold Raceway Mall, and to make your reservations, visit the Santa HQ website.