Turkey and stuffing may be on your mind this week, but at some area malls, it’s already Christmastime.
It’s been the holiday season for weeks now, with Santa landing his sleigh at several retail centers in early to mid-November.
He arrives as consumers across the country decry so-called “Christmas creep,” the trend of holiday items being advertised in stores earlier than they recall in years past. This year, Lowe’s and Home Depot started selling trees, wreaths, and other festive decorations in mid-August, earlier than they had previously, with company executives citing inflation as a reason shoppers may want to space out holiday purchases.
In the Philadelphia region, malls waited until at least November to welcome Santa, one subtle signal of the start of the holiday shopping season. None welcomed the big guy significantly earlier than they did last year.
Santa arrived at the Cherry Hill Mall on Nov. 4, four days after Halloween, with the mall marking his arrival with a holiday-themed pajama party. Since 2021, the big guy has been getting to the Camden County mall the first weekend of November, one week earlier than he did in the years prior.
At the King of Prussia Mall, one Santa arrived in the complex’s Plaza section on Thursday Nov. 9, while another took up residency in the Court section this past Friday, about a week later, according to Todd Putt, the mall’s marketing director. Both Santas arrived at the same times last year.
And there’s no recent “Christmas creep” here: The Santa at the Plaza at the King of Prussia Mall is actually arriving a full week later than he did in pre-COVID times, when he flew in two days after Halloween.
At Oxford Valley Mall and Plymouth Meeting Mall, Santa is just getting settled in after arriving this weekend.
And yes, some malls do wait until after Thanksgiving to officially ring in the holiday season.
Santa will arrive at Philadelphia Mills on Friday, and parade into the Fashion District Philadelphia on Saturday. Santa has arrived at the Center City mall after Thanksgiving since it opened as the Fashion District in 2019. At the Shops at Liberty Place, Santa and the Grinch stop by for selfies on two Saturdays in December.
How much does it cost to see Santa?
It depends where you’re going, but expect to spend at least $20 if just want digital photos. For prints, it’ll likely cost you closer to $40.
It can save you a bit to visit Santa before December.
For example, customers seeing Cherry Hill Mall Santa pay $35 for up to four children to get photos with Santa any day between now and the end of November. But the price increases to $40 starting Dec. 1. Prices increase slightly, to between $42 and $44 depending on the day, as the holiday approaches.