And moms and dads better make reservations and get tickets ahead of time
These prices might make you Claus-trophobic.
For many, taking photos with Father Christmas signifies an age-old holiday tradition. But gone are the days of inexpensive Polaroid proof where your child sat, smiled or screamed on Santa’s lap—it now costs a small fortune to bring home keepsake images with Mr. Claus. Plus, reservations, tickets and credit cards are often required before one can gain access to Santa’s lap.
Laura Carney, a mother of two from Nashville, recently took her kids to the mall for their annual photo with Santa. “I paid $28 for two 4×6 prints of the same image — I couldn’t not buy them! But it was $10 more for a digital copy of just one image and that seemed really annoying,” she tells Moneyish.
Here’s what it costs to take photos with Santa around the nation:
At The Grove in Los Angeles, Santa’s Workshop draws hoards of walk-up visitors that queue in a lengthy line, so reservations are recommended for an expedited experience. The only problem is, this guy is so popular that reservations are no longer available. And, if you do decide to wait, photo packages begin at $40 which include emailed images, but if printed images are what you’re after, prepare to pay $60 for one 5×7 and two 3×5 photos. If it’s any consolation, 5% of Santa House proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles—which might help justify the pricey photo opportunity.
In New York City, there’s a photo studio dedicated to taking portraits with a silly Santa who lets subjects tie him up with lights or pull on his beard. New York Santa Photographer occupies an Upper West Side studio and for $135, one receives two high-resolution images with a print release included. A closet of holiday themed props is available for use, but minor retouching on images costs $325 and all that plus 50 holiday cards and envelopes runs $500.
At New Jersey’s Cherry Hill Mall, Santa FastPasses can be purchased starting at $24.99, which buys you a shorter wait time in a special line, one 5×7, one 3×5 and two wallet images in addition to three personalized phone calls from Kriss Kringle. For $49.99, four 5×7, 3×5 and wallet-sized images are included along with two 4×6 photos.
Phoenix, Arizona’s Biltmore Fashion Park offers four-minute sessions with Santa for $39.99, which includes one 5×7 and one 4×6 print, four wallet prints and the downloadable e-book I Can’t Wait to Visit Santa. Naturally, they tout the experience as “priceless” because with a reservation, a big line is avoided.
The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida transforms its Grand Court into a decadent evergreen display called the Enchanted Garden. Through Christmas Eve, visitors can take photos with Santa starting with the basic “Package C” which includes one 5×7, two 4×6 and two 3×5 photos for $28.99. For $55.99 you get four prints of each photo plus hi-res photos on a flash drive and a $20 card from Shutterfly. Add-ons are available with the purchase of any package but you’ll incur charges like $20 for multiple poses and $15 for the ability to digitally download images.
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