Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Advent Calendar, Day 9: A Trip to Macy's Santaland

One activity many Minnesotans talk about during the holiday season is the Santaland display at the downtown Minneapolis Macy's store. (Say that three times fast; there's a lot of M's in the sentence!) Many people around here grew up visiting this iconic holiday display as kids, or have started the tradition with their own families. This year, I wanted to check it out for myself!

Truth be told, I'm terrified of driving downtown. I find it so confusing! We live just 10 minutes from the heart of the city, but I typically refuse to drive down there unless Andi's with me. Fear aside, I decided this was the year I'd take Tory and Aden to see Macy's Santaland. I could do it! I was determined to navigate downtown streets and parking, and have a fun morning adventure with the kids for Day 9 of our Christmas advent calendar activities.

I invited my friend Mirjam and her son Elia to meet us there, and successfully made it to Macy's 8th floor. Another friend recommended arriving at opening time to beat the long lines, so we did just that. I was surprised to learn the Macy's Santaland display was free of charge! And to be honest, I was a bit confused to find an entire auditorium filled with sets of motorized dolls and figurines. It reminded me of a life-size dollhouse. Then when I thought about it, I realized it was exactly as the name suggested -- a Santaland display featuring various scenes from the North Pole -- the mail station, the elves' sleeping quarters, Santa's toy workshop, bake shop, etc. Duh.

For as perplexed as I might've been, Tory and Aden were in absolute heaven. Tory poured over each scene, taking in every detail. Aden was a little unsure at first, but followed Tory's lead and seemed to particularly love the life-like animal displays.

Elia with Aden and Tory

We winded our way through the auditorium, ooh'ing and ahh'ing over the displays. Toward the end of our visit, we cued up in line to meet Santa Claus. I wasn't sure Tory and Aden would be up for greeting the Big Guy, as our visits in past years have ended with bucketsful of tears. I asked Tory if she'd like to see Santa and she responded with an enthusiastic "Yes!" Fortunately, the line wasn't long so it only took a few minutes to see him.

Tory ran toward Santa Claus the minute she saw him, and willingly climbed on his knee when he asked her if she'd like to sit with him. Aden, of course, was more reluctant but followed Tory's lead. Hooray for older siblings who lead the way! 

I liked how Santa was seated in his own private room at this Macy's, and appreciated the camera woman's care in capturing a great photo. After a few pictures, Santa turned to Tory and said, "So what would you like for Christmas?" to which she responded, "A workout mat!" I nearly died of laughter. Oh, Tory Bean! 

I was so pleased with the whole experience and will definitely add Macy's Santaland to our future Christmastime activities.


  1. ok that is awesome!! We may make the drive ourselves! Only a two day trip or so... Looks super magical!

  2. We love going to the Macy's display, but wish they would change it up from time to time. It's been the same display for years so we're giving it a couple years break. You were smart to go first thing in the morning and during the week. it can get pretty busy on the weekends.