With Christmas getting closer, you might be thinking about Santa Claus. He tends to appear in West Seattle’s two major shopping spots each season: The Junction, and Westwood Village. Both are changing it up a bit this season:
THE JUNCTION: We’ve already briefly mentioned this year’s schedule for Hometown Holidays (co-sponsored by WSB). The schedule includes three Sunday visits by Santa Claus, at City Mouse Studio and Store. The first two, December 4th and 11th, offer professional photographs, for a donation of (at least) $15 that benefits West Seattle charities; on December 18th, no photographer, but you are welcome to bring your own camera for a DIY picture with Santa (charity donations encouraged). The hours for all three Sundays will be 11 am-3 pm. You’ll find Hometown Holidays fun at California/Alaska 11 am-4 pm each of those days too, and mule-drawn carriage rides till 3 pm on Dec. 11 and 18. (Other HH events are listed here.)
WESTWOOD VILLAGE: When WSB Forums members wondered aloud about Santa plans for this year, Luckymom30 discovered a big change – Arthur and Associates is taking over. Westwood Village, you may recall, has new ownership, and new management; we pinged WV assistant general manager Andy Thompson to ask about the holiday change. He says, “It will be different, but … we think it will be better.” Instead of Santa making only weekend-afternoon appearances as in past years, he will be at WV daily from November 25th through Christmas Eve, morning through early evening. The center also plans to have carolers make regular appearances – Friday, November 25th, 11:30 am-1:30 pm, and then those same hours every Saturday through Christmas Eve. There’ll be a Giving Tree to help kids in need through the Salvation Army. (We are waiting to hear back from Arthur and Associates to confirm WV photo pricing; in past years, photos were free with a food-bank donation.) 2 other notes: “Black Friday” means 12:01 am Target shopping at WV, according to Thompson, and they’re working with Barnes & Noble on setting up gift wrapping “for the entire shopping center.” (We’ve already heard Sanislo Elementary is planning to be there on November 27th.)
ADDED 2:44 PM: Just heard back from David Mickelson at Arthur and Associates, who says they asked the popular Westwood Santa “if he would be interested in continuing,” but, Mickelson says, he wasn’t. Read on for more of what he had to say about their 68-year-old Seattle-based company and its Westwood plans:
Arthur & Associates is a family owned, Greater Seattle business that has operated continuously since 1943 (our office is in Ballard). Our company originally started the holiday tradition of sitting with Santa at the Downtown Frederick & Nelson department store. Aside from also doing the Easter Bunny in 3 locations, Santa Photography is all we do and we truly believe in what we do to make the experience special for our visitors. We have many examples of families following us through multiple generations and we sincerely hope to start a new tradition at Westwood Village for friends and families.
We take care to carefully train our photographers to take quality pictures while enjoying great relationships with our many Santas that all live in the area. I believe there are 2-3 gentlemen scheduled to work at Westwood and by next week their schedules with a picture should be up on our website. Currently, we have last year’s schedules, but we’re working frantically to get everything updated. Regarding the gentleman who has been at WV, we contacted him to see if he would be interested in continuing as we appreciate these traditions can be special. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested so there will be a new face this year. We will be using more that one Santa because we will be operating a longer schedule than in years past from what I understand. We will be open Monday through Saturday 10am – 8pm and Sunday’s 11am – 6pm beginning Friday, Nov 25 until our December 24th closing at 5pm.
Photo packages start as low as $15 and products offered include Wallets – 5X7 w/frame, electronic images sent from our location to your email address as well as a Holiday Greeting photo that takes your Santa picture, and allows you to choose a festive frame and holiday salutation. You get to preview the pictures we take, choose the one you like and we will print everything on site for the customer to take with them.
We appreciate that no matter what we do, it will be different from what has been offered in years past, but we believe people that visit and get to know us will become friends, like others have over the past 65+ years.