Safety protocols in place for visits with Santa at Vancouver Mall


Contactless visits with Santa Claus are in order in 2020

The set resembles the holiday classic A Christmas Story.

The Vancouver Mall promises, however, that Santa Claus in present day is nothing like the Santa from that film set in America in 1940.

Carson Asay, 12, (left) and his brother Cruz Asay, 10, act out their disapproval of being “made” to wear pink bunny pajamas during their Monday visit with Santa Claus at the Vancouver Mall. Photo by Paul Valencia
Carson Asay, 12, (left) and his brother Cruz Asay, 10, act out their disapproval of being “made” to wear pink bunny pajamas during their Monday visit with Santa Claus at the Vancouver Mall. Photo by Paul Valencia

“I work very closely with Santa, and he is amazing. He is the sweetest, sweetest Santa,” said Bree Sanchez, marketing manager at the mall. “He’s happy to hear your whole list. Santa and his elves are very friendly at the Vancouver Mall.”

And safe too, the mall declares. This Santa will not put a boot in your face to knock you down the slide, and he will keep a bit of distance.

Braelyn Lathrop, 7, and Santa Claus, age unknown, put up their reindeer ears for a photo at the Vancouver Mall on Monday. Mall officials are inviting families to a contactless visit with Santa Claus this year. Photo by Paul Valencia
Braelyn Lathrop, 7, and Santa Claus, age unknown, put up their reindeer ears for a photo at the Vancouver Mall on Monday. Mall officials are inviting families to a contactless visit with Santa Claus this year. Photo by Paul Valencia

Families are invited to visit with Santa Claus at the mall, every day through Christmas Eve. This is 2020, though, which means there are new rules. 

This season, all visits are contactless. Guests can sit on boxes, designed to look like presents, a few feet in front of Santa. And with the angle of the professional photography, it appears Santa is right behind visitors. The boxes are cleaned between each family’s visit. 

Sanchez also noted that Santa and his helpers get regular health checks. 

The Vancouver Mall is hosting A Christmas Story theme at its Santa visits this season. Photo by Paul Valencia
The Vancouver Mall is hosting A Christmas Story theme at its Santa visits this season. Photo by Paul Valencia

When Santa goes on a milk and cookies break, the entire set is clean using hydrocastric disinfectant. 

“Safety is the highest priority this year,” Sanchez said.

Oh, and visitors are also asked to go online to shopvancouvermall.com/holiday to reserve a block of time to meet Santa. That is intended to reduce the traditional long lines.

The infamous leg lamp is among the items in the living room of the A Christmas Story set at the Vancouver Mall. Photo by Paul Valencia
The infamous leg lamp is among the items in the living room of the A Christmas Story set at the Vancouver Mall. Photo by Paul Valencia

The set takes you “inside the movie,” as you visit the Parker house. Yes, the infamous leg lamp is there. There are also some fun filters available through the mall’s app to take selfies with you, including the chance to get your face to look as if you are the one wearing the pink rabbit pajamas.

Sanchez said visitors are encouraged to take photos in that part of the set, inside the living room. However, once visitors get to Santa, the only photography allowed is from the professional photographers provided. There is a cost for photos, but no one is required to purchase photos. 

“All visits to Santa and the set are free,” Sanchez said.

This year, the slide is just for decoration. No one is allowed to use the slide at the set of A Christmas Story at the Vancouver Mall. Photo by Paul Valencia
This year, the slide is just for decoration. No one is allowed to use the slide at the set of A Christmas Story at the Vancouver Mall. Photo by Paul Valencia

Santa is available daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. through Dec. 23. (Santa takes a milk and cookie break from 3 to 4 p.m.) Santa also will be at the mall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with a break from 1 to 2 p.m.

Also, on Dec. 12 and 13, look for special appearances from characters from A Christmas Story. 

Santa Claus is taking requests at the Vancouver Mall, listening to Christman lists. Visits are contactless this year, though. Photo by Paul Valencia
Santa Claus is taking requests at the Vancouver Mall, listening to Christman lists. Visits are contactless this year, though. Photo by Paul Valencia

The Vancouver Mall is thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity. Sanchez noted many activities have been cancelled due to the government restrictions put in place. 

“We really feel it is a safe experience,” Sanchez said. 

“There is nothing more nostalgic than that photo with Santa at the mall.”

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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