If you want to avoid the lines — and high costs — of getting your child’s photo with Santa at the mall, here are a few options around Houston for free:

  • Bass-Pro Shops — The fabulous Winter Wonderland activities continue all month — including free photos with Santa.  Kids can tell Santa their Christmas wishes and get a free photo Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.  (Beginning December 13, weekday photo times run 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
  • Toys “R” UsSanta will be visiting Toys “R” Us this Saturday, December 4, from noon to 3 p.m.  Bring your camera to snap some special photos with Santa and Geoffrey! You can also enjoy storytime and decorate your own gingerbread cookie. Thanks Coupon Contessa for this tip!
  • YMCA South Montgomery County — It’s the annual Holiday Open House this Saturday, December 4, from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture the special Santa moment. Lots of other family activities including holiday arts & crafts, face painting, indoor climbing center, and refreshments. The Y is located at 6145 Shadowbend Place in The Woodlands.
  • At the airport — This is silly fun! If you’re traveling in December, you can take advantage of free Holiday Photos on the Fly — at participating airports. Thanks to Southwest Airlines and Windows, folks can pose for photos at two dozen airports including Austin, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, and more. Check the list out here. Photo dates run Dec. 2-5, 9-12, 17-20.
  • Traders Village — The Holiday Market with Santa Claus continues through December 19 at Trader’s Village, an open air market in NW Houston. Kids can have their photo made with Santa for free, with donations going to the Houston Metro Go Texan Committee Cypress Fairbanks Subcommittee. Traders Village is located at 7979 N. Eldridge.
  • Chick-fil-A — How about free photos with the Santa cow? Chick-fil-A locations at Copperfield and Cy-Fair are offering this for customers on Saturdays, December 4, 11, and 18 from 11:30 – 1:30 p.m.  And again on Sundays, December 5, 12, and 19 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Copperfield location only.  Then Tuesdays, December 7, 14, and 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Cy-Fair location only.  The Copperfield store is located at 8440 Hwy. 6 North.  The Cy-Fair store is located at 12325 FM 1960 W.