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Santa to return to Macy’s stores — by reservation only

Santa will be available for in-person visits in select Macy’s stores.

Macy’s is restoring a holiday tradition that it canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Santa Claus will be back at select Macy’s stores this year, meeting with kids in person in the retailer’s iconic Santaland.  But an advance reservation will be required to meet with the big guy,

Last year, Macy’s Santaland was available only as a virtual experience that was called Santaland At Home. The digital experience will be available again this year, but with all-new programming, the retailer said.

Macy’s Santaland, will open for in-store visits at Macy’s on State Street in Chicago on Saturday, November 6, and at Macy’s Herald Square in New York and Union Square in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 26. An advance reservation will be required to visit the winter wonderland. 

Reservations will open five days in advance of the desired visit date to allow for the most access possible to guests wishing to attend in-person, according to Macy’s. Each day reservations will open at 5:30 a.m. local time and will showcase the open reservation slots for five days later.

All visits with Santa will be contactless and be conducted from a “socially distanced experience as kids share their Christmas wish lists with the jolly man in red,” Macy said.  This is the second holiday tradition that Macy’s is bringing back after pandemic-related cancellations. In September, the retailer said its annual Thanksgiving Day parade will once again be live with in-person spectators lining the streets.

“From a visit with the one-and-only Santa Claus to Macy’s Great Tree, animated windows and more, we are thrilled to bring the spirit of the season back to communities nationwide,” said Will Coss, Macy’s VP of Branded Entertainment. “We are particularly overjoyed for the return of in-person visits with Santa Claus at Macy’s Santaland in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. With the health and safety of our staff and guests as our top priority, a team of dedicated elves have taken several steps to produce an experience that is fun, whimsical and one that will create cherished memories long past the season.”

Macy’s digital Santaland at Home — which is free — will be available from Friday, November 26 through Friday, December 24. To access the site, a supervising adult must create an account, provide the appropriate permissions to activate the program including approving access to the hardware for the interactive elements and selecting their preferred Santa experience.

The immersive online experience will allow kids to virtually visit Santa’s Workshop, stopping along the way to see the sights and to play interactive games.  At the finale of the experience, kids will meet Santa through an interactive video where they will be able to share their holiday wish list followed by the creation of a special Santa selfie. At the conclusion of the experience, families will be able to download their commemorative photo.

In addition, throughout the month of December, kids can engage with Santa live on social media. His online social calendar on will detail when his “Cookies & Milk with Santa” live events will take place.

Macy’s has hosted visits with Santa Claus since 1861 and has decorated its windows for the holidays since 1874.  

[Read More: Macy’s unveils array of holiday digital shopping features]

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