Taking pictures with Santa is a yearly tradition, even if it means a photo of a screaming, terrified child on St. Nick’s lap. I’m so lucky to be invited to a close friend’s annual holiday kick-off party. Santa is the honored guest and my girls get to sit on his lap and share their wish list. I’m happy because I get great photos with no lines.

If you’re not as lucky, you can find Santa at our town tree lightings or even have him come to your home thanks to the Montclair PBA, but is a list of local Santa Photo-ops (and one with Mrs. Claus!):

Photos With Santa at Van Vleck
 Kids who want to meet Santa.
What: The House will be decorated for the holidays, and the famous Van Vleck Christmas tree—adorned with ornaments made from natural plant materials—will be on display. So gather the kids and head over for a unique photo opportunity with the man in the red suit. Professional photographs will be taken of children on Santa’s lap next to the fireplace in the library at Van Vleck House. Children will be able to write a letter to Santa and make a decorative craft to take home.
Where: Van Vleck House & Gardens, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair  NJ, 07042
When: Four sittings: Friday, December 6 from 3 – 5 pm / Saturday, December 7 from 10 am – noon and 3 – 5 pm / Sunday, December 15 from noon – 3 pm.
Cost:  The fee is $20 per sitting per family. Walk-ins are welcome, but prepaid reservations are encouraged and will have priority. To make a reservation or for more information call 973-744-4752, extension 2.

Santa Photo-opsAunt Jean’s Presents Photos With Santa at Montclair Pop up
Who: Kids who want to meet Santa.
What: Krisztina Crane Photography will capture your child’s photo on Santa’s lap. Families will also enjoy hot cocoa!
Where: Montclair Pop Up Shop, 102 Walnut Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042
When: Sunday, December 8 from 9 am – 1 pm
Cost: $10  per family gets you one complimentary photograph from Krisztina Crane photography along with a hot cup of chocolate. You must register here! Any questions, can be emailed here.


Cookies an Cocoa With Santa
 All ages.
What: Drop by the Arboretum for cookies and cocoa and have your picture taken with Santa in the beautifully decorated Wisner House!  Holiday portraits will be taken by local photographer Lisa Berkery. The Holiday Gift Boutique will  feature lots of vendors.
Where: Reeves-Reed Arboretum, 165 Hobart Avenue, Summit, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 7 from 10 pm – 2 pm
Cost: $5 per person

Holiday Celebration @ Springfield Avenue Gazebo
Who: Families
What: Enjoy live music, storytelling for kids, photos with Santa and another special guest character, a tree and menorah lighting,  and refreshments!!! There will also be an elf to make balloon animals for the kids!
Where: Gazebo Grounds, 1688 Springfield Ave, Maplewood, NJ
When: Saturday, November 30 at 5 pm
Cost: Free

Imagine That!
 Little kids.
What: Have breakfast with Santa Claus, receive a special gift and take a photo with the jolly old elf.
Where: Imagine That!, 4 Vreeland Road, Florham Park, NJ.
When: Friday, November 29 from 10 am – 11 am
Cost: Children $14.99 and Adults $12.99 with reservations.

Snowflake Parade
 All ages
What: Head to the streets for downtown Millburn’s annual Snowflake Parade. Guests can expect clowns, refreshments, and photos with Santa. For more info click here.
When: December1 from 1:30-5 pm
Where: Millburn Avenue between Holmes and Spring Streets,
Millburn, NJ
Cost: Free

Breakfast With Santa at South Mountain YMCA
Little Kids
What: Celebrate the Holidays with YMCA families and get a personalized gift from Santa. Free family photo with Santa by Joy Yagid Photography.
South Mountain YMCA13 Jefferson Avenue, Maplewood, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 7 at 8:30 – 9:30 am / 10 – 11a am /11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Cost: $50 for YMCA Members and $70 for non-members. Cost includes up to two children per family. An additional $10 will be added per child for the third or child and up. Call 973.762.4145 for more information. Click here for registration form.

mrs. claus

Tea With Mrs. Claus
Kids ages 2 – 8
What: While her husband is busy with Christmas preparations, Mrs. Claus pays a visit to Oakeside.  Guests will enjoy a story read by Mrs. Claus, tea and finger sandwiches, cookies and more.  Mrs. Claus will pose for pictures with our guests that they can take home in a souvenir frame.
Where: Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Avenue, Bloomfield, NJ
Enjoy a story, tea & finger sandwiches, cookies and fun with Mrs. Claus! Each child will receive a framed picture with Mrs. Claus.
Saturday, December 14. Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Seatings are 11:00 am and 1:30 pm. 
 Tickets are $15 for children and $12 for adults.  Payment must be made within five days of booking to guarantee your place.  Please call the office at 973-429-0960 for reservations.

Women’s Club of Glen Ridge Children’s Holiday Festival
The Holiday Festival offers holiday themed games and crafts with delicious food, merry drinks and complete with a visit from Ole’ St. Nick who will be ready to pose with children of all ages.
Where:  219 Ridgewood Avenue, Glen Ridge, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 14 from 1 pm- 3:30 pm
Cost: $35 per non-member family / $30 for member family.

Story time With Santa and Mrs. Claus
Who: Families
What: Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy stories and treats!
Where: Kingsland Manor, 3 Kingsland Street, Nutleu, NJ
When: Saturday, December 14 from 10 am – 2 pm
Cost: Free. For more information please call 973-235-1549

Santa at Christmas Ice Caverns
 437 Route 46 West, Fairfield, NJ. Inide the Fairfield Home and Garden Center.
Have your picture taken with the most famous Santa in New Jersey and the tri state area, who has been taking pictures as Santa for over 20 years. He started in the Wayne Town Center Mall and was there until 2007 when the mall closed. Now he can be found at Christmas Ice Caverns.
Hours: Pictures With Santa Photo Times & Attire Are As Follows: Monday-Saturday 11 am – 8 pm & Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
Traditional Suit (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays) Victorian Suit (Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays)

Mall at Short Hills
 Ice Palace exhibit
Santa will be at The Mall at Short Hills through December 24 for family photos and is available during all mall hours with limited breaks daily.
Hours: During mall hours. Santa will take a break to feed his reindeer weekdays from 3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., weekends from 2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Willowbrook Mall
 Bloomingdale’s Exhibit Court
Hours: Open all mall hours. Check here for specifics.

Fair in the Square – Pictures With Santa
What: Verona’s 17th annual outdoor holiday fair featuring ice-carving demonstrations, face painting, children’s wood workshop, local crafters & vendors selling gifts, pictures with Santa and Snoopy, music and much more!
 Verona Civic Center (600 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona) during Fair in the Square.
When: Sunday, December 8. Photos with Santa from 2 pm – 3:30 pm.
Cost: Free.

Breakfast With Santa at Maplewood Dickens Village
 All ages.
What: See Santa at the annual Breakfast with Santa at St. James Gate Publick House and Village Trattoria. You’ll enjoy a continental breakfast, music and gifts for the children.
Where: St. James Gate Publick House, 167 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ
When: Saturday, December 14 at 9:30 am.
Cost: $10 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the Village Wine Shop at 163 Maplewood Avenue.

Brunch With Santa at MoonShine Supper Club
 All ages
What: Santa will be making an early stop for brunch at the MoonShine Modern Supper Club! Bring the whole family to “the best brunch in Essex County” and thrill your little guys as they sit on Santa’s lap to tell him what they want for Christmas.
Where: MoonShine Modern Supper Club, 55 Main Street, Millburn, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11:30 am
Cost: Free with brunch

Santa at Anthony’s Cheesecake Cafe
 All ages
What: Take advantage of this opportunity to see Santa at Anthony’s Cheesecake Cafe! Children will be treated to hot chocolate, goodies, and fun. Donations of unwrapped, new toys will be collected for the Bloomfield Police Department’s Annual Toy Drive.
Where: Anthony’s Cheesecake Cafe, 71 Washington Street, Bloomfield, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11 am to 2 pm
Cost: Free

Breakfast With Santa at St. Luke’s
What:  Food, fun, crafts, and time with Santa!
Where: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 73 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042
When: Saturday, December 21 from 9 am – 1 pm
Cost: Free

Breakfast With Santa at Liberty Hall Museum
 Recommended 7-12 years
What: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet that will fill you with Christmas cheer. Then, take a photo with the jolly old man himself in Santa’s sleigh before touring Liberty Hall.
Where: Liberty Hall Museum, 1003 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ.
When: Sunday, December 22, 11:30 am
Cost: Adults $25; Children $20 – Registration required


Where do you visit Santa for pictures?

Know of another place Santa will be visiting? Send us the info here and we’ll include it.

One reply on “Local Santa Photo-Ops”

  1. Mrs. Claus called me earlier this week to inform me that Santa had unfortunately double booked himself for photo ops with kiddies–so Aunt Jean’s Presents Photos With Santa at Montclair Pop up will only take place on Sunday, December 8th. The good news is that hours are extended into evening to make up for Santa’s not checking his list twice! Slots go very quickly, so have Dasher help you book time for this wonderful event.

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