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Saturday, December 02 2017 12:05

HGTV presents Santa HQ: A Magical Holiday Experience...

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This Santa HQ feature is brought to you by Macerich Shopping Centers & HGTV in collaboration with The Rock Father™

The holiday season brings with it a host of magical experiences and opportunities to make family memories that will last a lifetime. At the pinnacle comes the annual visit with Santa Claus, and this year the folks at HGTV and Macerich Shopping Centers have teamed-up for an all-new experience aimed at bringing holiday magic to kids and grownups alike with some flourishes that have been upgraded for the social media age. HGTV presents Santa HQ - open now at 15 different locations, including the Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, Illinois - not far from Rock Father™ HQ! My wife and I recently took The Rock Daughters™ to visit Santa HQ first-hand, and you're going to want to schedule a visit, too!

HGTV presents Santa HQ

Located at the heart of the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Santa HQ pairs the traditional photo-op with Santa Claus alongside some new things that the modern generation will appreciate. That includes the "Elfie Selfie," where kids can snap a selfie using a provided tablet, then have it placed into their own custom holiday dance video! There's also an augmented reality portion called "Elf-Ray Vision." Using the provided tablet or a free app from Apple or Google Play, families can check out trigger points that will reveal what the elves are doing. And, if you want to take the fun home, the Santa HQ website has free printable triggers that you can place in your own house!

For our kids, one of the best parts of Santa HQ came right at the start - a chance to find out if they made the Nice List or not. The Naughty or Nice Meters were able to scan our little ones before placing their names atop the constantly updated digital lists. There's also a light show with more than 10,000 lights, along with a chance to flip some switches inside Santa's observatory.

HGTV presents Santa HQ - Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Santa HQ is open seven days a week through December 24. Operating hours are: Mondays through Thursdays: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m; Fridays and Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sundays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Special holiday hours include: Sunday, December 17: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, December 24: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Reservations can be made online to beat the crowd, though they are recommended - not required. Photo packages are available for a nominal fee.

For readers outside of Chicago, the Santa HQ experience is available at 15 Macerich Shopping Centers. Click here for a full list of Santa HQ locations and details.

HGTV presents Santa HQ - Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Bonus: Do some good and enjoy the holiday spirit of giving through HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Drive.  The program encourages visitors to donate new, unwrapped toys for local children in need with the goal of collecting over 1,000 toys per center. In 2016, HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving program collected over 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations like Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus. Bring a toy with you on your visit to Santa HQ and drop it into his bag!

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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