Santa Gets High-Tech at Santa HQ

In partnership with HGTV, three SoCal shopping centers are hosting an interactive Christmas experience – Santa HQ. We were invited to check out the big guy’s arrival at Lakewood Center and enjoy some fun activities and a free photo package.

Santa HQ adds a special twist to your typical mall Santa. In the digital era we live in, it’s only natural that Santa gets an upgrade too! The interactive experience is fun for the whole family, and keeps the kids engaged and in awe while they wait for their turn with the big guy.

First up, you can get scanned by the “Naughty or Nice O’Meter” to find out where you land on Santa’s list. (Somehow all of my kids ended up on the “Nice” list. That thing must be rigged!)

Then you’re guided through Santa’s headquarters to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on up in the North Pole:

Santa’s living room is way cuter than mine! And apparently he loves to watch HGTV too.

The big guy can never get enough cookies, of course.

Around the corner you can take an #Elfie at Santa’s Studio. Yeah, he’s into art too. Santa’s a well-rounded guy. (Get it?!)

The next room contains the Control Center, where you can observe what’s happening in all parts of the headquarters. The helper elves also have Elf-Ray vision devices that kids can use to look for elves and presents!

Pro Tip: You can download the Elf-Ray Vision app on your Android or iPhone ahead of time. There are interactive areas all over Santa HQ, including around the perimeter, so kids can join in the fun before you even get inside!

There are two great photo opps in the Santa HQ experience. The first one is in front of a cute background with fun props to use.

Employees can a photo for you or you can take some selfies. (These photos will be included in your photo package options, and if you purchase one photo you can download the other ones for free!) Then, it’s time to meet the big guy.

One of my favorite features of the Santa HQ is that you can make an appointment to see Santa to save time, with advance purchase of your photo package. (Look for special discount days to save time and money!) That way there’s no surprise when you get to the mall, because you know exactly how long you’ll have to wait!

Santa HQ is open 7 days a week, with three SoCal locations to choose from! Each location features different specials, so be sure to check out their specific website for more details or to reserve your spot!

Lakewood Center
500 Lakewood Center Mall
Lakewood, CA 90712

Los Cerritos Center
Address: 239 Los Cerritos Center
Cerritos, CA 90703

The Oaks
350 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360


About Angela Bishop

Angela is a Florida transplant who has been living in Orange County since 2004. She loves music, driving on the freeway (even in the SoCal traffic), trying new foods, and traveling near and far. When she’s not covering local events, she’s traveling around with her crazy family and writing about it over on

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