Photos with Santa are a fun holiday tradition, but things are obviously a bit different this year with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Some places that have offered pictures with Santa in Houston in previous years aren’t offering them this year, and others have instituted new protocols to make every effort to keep guests safe. The good news is there are still plenty of places where you can get free or cheap pictures with Santa in Houston and the surrounding area while staying safe this holiday season.
Here are a few locations and events to find free and cheap Santa photos in Houston:
Where to Get Free Santa Photos in Houston and Surrounding Areas
Bass Pro Shops — Winter Wonderland activities return to Bass Pro Shops — including free photos with Santa. The holiday tradition will continue in a safe and responsible way. Temperature screenings will be required for families and staff before entering. Online reservations will also be required to ensure crowds are limited. An acrylic barrier will be in place between Santa and guests, and all staff will be wearing masks. Kids can tell Santa their Christmas wishes and get a free photo through December 24. Make your reservations in advance online.
Sugar Land Town Square — The 2020 Santa experience at Sugar Land Town Square is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The MAGISPHERE will allow kids of all ages to visit Santa through a “magical holographic snow globe housed in a giant wrapped gift located outdoors in the plaza of Sugar Land Town Square. The big man himself will be beamed in real-time to the MAGI·SPHERE through proprietary, contactless elf technology.” Reservations are strongly encouraged but some walk-up availability may be possible.–2711 Plaza Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77478
Gilman Subaru North — On Saturday, December 5 from 1-3:30 pm, Gilman Subaru North will be offering free Santa photos for people and pets by AnandaJoy Photography. Masks must be worn. Donations to Lone Star Animal Welfare League are appreciated but not required. Learn more on the event’s Facebook page.
Santa Photos for Cheap or Donations Benefiting Others
There are other spots around town where you can get Santa photos in Houston for cheap or for a donation that goes to benefit a good cause.
Missouri City — This year, Missouri City will be taking its Santa experience online. Kids can have a 5-minute Zoom call with Santa from the safety of their own home. Take a screenshot for a special photo with Santa that truly captures the essence of 2020. Reserve a spot online for $5.
Houston Humane Society — Pets can get photos with Santa December 12 from 12-4 pm benefiting Houston Humane Society. A professional photographer will take the pics, and a digital download will be available with a donation of pet food or $10. (Please note only pets will be allowed to pose with Santa this year)
Traders Village — Santa is at Traders Village Saturdays and Sundays through December 20. Guests will be asked to wear a mask while waiting in line but can take the mask off for the photo. No contact with Santa will be allowed and social distancing will be promoted. No prints will be available this year. Instead, you can take one photo on your phone or camera. Cost is just $5.
Galveston Railroad Museum — This excellent Galveston museum will be offering lots of holiday fun this year with train rides, storytimes with Mrs. Claus, light displays, and of course, pictures with Santa. Santa photos start at $20 and payment is coordinated by the photographer. Learn more here.
Malls Offering Santa Photos This Year
While malls aren’t usually the cheapest place to get Santa pictures, we decided to include them in this year’s guide since the free and cheap options aren’t as abundant right now due to the pandemic. Please note that most malls are requiring advanced reservations. With that in mind, here are some local malls offering pictures with Santa in 2020:
Baybrook Mall — Offering contactless visits with Santa. Face coverings for guests and Santa may be required during the visit based on current state regulations. Open November 27-December 24 (Mon-Sat 11 am-7 pm; Sun 12-6 pm; Christmas Eve 9 am- 5 pm).
Deerbrook Mall — Offering contactless visits with Santa at the Lower Level near Barnes & Noble. Face coverings for guests and Santa may be required during the visit based on current state regulations. Open November 27-December 24 (Mon-Sat 11 am-7 pm; Sun 12-6 pm; Christmas Eve 9 am- 5 pm).
First Colony Mall — Offering contactless visits with Santa at the JC Penney Court. Face coverings for guests and Santa may be required during the visit based on current state regulations. Open November 27-December 24 (Mon-Sat 11 am-7 pm; Sun 12-6 pm; Christmas Eve 9 am- 5 pm).
The Galleria — Offering socially distanced Santa experience. Masks may be required as mandated by local agencies. Open November 27-December 24.
Memorial City Mall — Memorial City Mall is arranging in-person and at-home Zoom calls with Santa this year. Kids will be able to meet Santa and chat about their Christmas wishes like normal, only through a virtual platform. During these video sessions, carefully placed cameras will be able to capture this one-of-a-kind moment. Reservations can be made through the website. Additionally, in-person photos with Santa will be possible as stools will be placed 6 feet in front of Santa with “creative camera angles to capture memorable photos.” Choose a reservation date before December 16 and receive a $3 discount.
Willowbrook Mall — Offering contactless visits with Santa. Face coverings for guests and Santa may be required during the visit based on current state regulations. Open November 27-December 24 (Mon-Sat 11 am-7 pm; Sun 12-6 pm, Christmas Eve 9 am – 5 pm).
Do you know of any other places to get free or cheap Santa photos in Houston? Let us know by commenting below.