Stuck on ideas for where to see Santa? Sydney Mums Group has compiled a list of some great locations for FREE and paid opportunities to see Father Christmas this November and December, 2017.
As always, join the conversation in the comments or at our Facebook page and let us know if you have any other great ideas that aren't included, or if any of these traditional places for seeing Santa, are not so great this year.
For years, shopping centres have always been one of the guaranteed places to see Santa and they are still but do expect that if your child wants to put his or her order in with Santa, you will be asked to choose a photo package, for the pleasure of the experience.
Below, I've gathered some of your best bets for catching Santa in your local area, or for a special Christmas trip into the city.
North Rocks is just one local shopping centre that has a fabulous Santa's Grotto for photos with the jolly man
Local (mid-size) Shopping Centres:
Often, visiting Santa at your local, suburban shopping centre is less hectic than visiting your closest, big Westfield complex like Miranda or Chatswood. For example, I visited North Rocks shopping centre and they have an excellent Santa's grotto which is quiet during the week for your under 5s and open on weekends too, though busier.
Santa and his helper Grace, are friendly and have photo packages available starting from a single (6x8) printed photo at $20.95. There are endless options for printed and digital packages and each child is gifted some reindeer ears and a candy cane. Apart from North Rocks, Scene to Believe photographers have grottos at shopping villages in Burwood, Chatswood and other locations. This is just one example. You would be hard pressed not to find a photographer 'elf' with Santa at your local (mid-size) shopping haunt, such as Warriewood Square.
Many shopping centres offer a letterbox to Santa
Special Needs Experiences
For children on the autism spectrum, Sensitive Santa is a wonderful initiative, with opportunities to meet Santa at Rouse Hill. Check the hyperlink above for more details on the website.
Photos With Santa - Extra Special
If you are keen to invest in Santa photos this year and are looking for extraordinary experiences, here are two that sound great. Do you know of any others that should be in our list?
The popular child-friendly café, The Grounds in Alexandria, is hosting Santa Photos at The Grounds from 14 - 24 December. Coffee for the mums and Father Christmas for the kids - you can't beat that!
Home HQ in Artarmon is offering FREE photos with Santa, for families AND their pets on weekends from 9 - 17 December.
It's hard to beat the CBD for wondrous Christmas retail displays. Apart from the opportunity to visit the beautiful Swarovski Tree at the QVB, Level 2 has one of the most beautiful venues for photos with Santa - The Enchanted Garden. NB. Booking are available online only, so make sure you arrange before you commute into the city.
Have you been naughty or nice?
In recent years, the Sydney Santa Spectacular at Rosehill Raceourse (7 - 27 Dec) would have to be the hottest ticket in town, short of a trip to the Hunter Valley Gardens for the awesome, annual Christmas Lights Spectacular (sparkling nightly til 27 Jan). Neither experience is cheap but if you're looking to go all out, with excellent opportunities to meet and have photos with Santa, these events are the cat's meow! Book your tickets online now, to avoid missing out, particularly for the Sydney Santa Spectacular.
Sydney's Santa Spectacular tickets are popular, so don't miss out - image c/o- 'SSS' Facebook page
It's a nightmare to get in and out of the city for this really big event but you have to do it at least once, when you have kids. Every year, Carols by Candleight in The Domain offers one of the best Santa appearances of them all, with a Christmas concert specially catered to families with young children. As long as you manage your expectations that you'll be in with large crowds, will need to arrive early to secure a place, and your kids won't get to personally meet Santa, I'm sure you'll have a blast (insert cheeky wink emoji here). But if the idea of all this freaks you out, premier seating options are now being sold on the Carols website, to reserve seats with good views of the stage. This year the Carols are on Sun 17 Dec. (The good news is, they are televised too but the Santa segment is always on late, so set the show to record for the little ones).
All ages are covered with heaps of FREE and affordable activities that span from action-packed to quiet, indoor and outdoor activities lasting a couple of hours to a whole day and longer running camps.