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Santa Spotting in the Desert

Our favorite places to find the jolly old elf

Post Date:11/26/2017 12:01 AM

Paws 'n Claus The Gardens on El Paseo

With warm temperatures and a relaxed resort setting, spending the winter holidays in Palm Desert is pretty idyllic. What we lack in frost and snow is more than made up for by being able to roast chestnuts over an open fire—in this case, a fire pit on a sun-drenched patio.

But one thing doesn’t change. Kids need Santa. Lists and wishes need to be conveyed, and parents need to snap photos to preserve precious memories. And we’ve got Santa here in Palm Desert, in all the usual ways you might expect, plus a few unexpected twists. Here are a few places where you can reliably spot Santa on your trip to the desert this month:

Visits with Santa
Westfield Mall
Daily through December 24
Mondays - Saturdays, 11am – 8pm
Sundays, 11am – 7pm
Christmas Eve, 11am – 6pm

There’s something very comforting about taking a trip to the local mall and seeing kids—young and young at heart—lined up for a visit with Santa. You can find Santa on a daily basis at Westfield Palm Desert now through the holidays on Level 1, Main Court, across from World Gym. On Wednesday, December 6, you’re even invited to bring your dog in from 4-6pm for a photo with Santa.

Another opportunity to spend time with Jolly Old St. Nick is at the annual Breakfast with Santa at O’s American Kitchen inside the Westfield Mall on Saturday, December 9 from 10:00am–11:00am. You’ll enjoy a VIP Santa meet-and-greet, plus delicious breakfast, crafts and treats. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and help support St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Celebrate the Season
The Gardens on El Paseo
Friday, December 1
5:30 – 7:30pm

Palm Desert’s “Celebrate the Season” returns to The Gardens on El Paseo this year and amps up the entertainment in a big way. The highlight of the evening is a live concert by the Bobby Sanchez Combo, playing 50s covers in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis and Ritchie Valens. The event also offers free pictures with Santa Claus, and entertainment by strolling carolers. Hot cider and cocoa is served, and fun children’s activities led by the Palm Desert Youth Committee will add to the festive spirit. The event is free to all and is guaranteed to light up the holidays for you and your family.

WildLights
The Living Desert
Friday, December 1 – Saturday, December 2
Friday, December 8 – Saturday, December 90
Friday, December 15 – Sunday, December 24
6:00 – 9:00pm

WildLights, the desert’s favorite holiday tradition, will have your family marveling at over a million twinkling lights as you stroll about through The Living Desert. New this year and in celebration of the silver anniversary of WildLights, guests will have the opportunity to visit with reindeer! Free with paid admission, guests can catch a glimpse of Santa’s reindeer and a select number of reindeer photo and feeding opportunities will be available for purchase each WildLights evening.Explore the newly added pathways decorated in holiday lights and marvel at the “herd” of life-size, luminescent animal lanterns. And, yes, you can enjoy visits with Santa, too, along with live entertainment, arts and crafts, carousel rides, and more!

Playtime with Santa
The Gardens on El Paseo
Saturday, December 9
10am-12:00 noon

Photos with Santa, crafts, face painting and more are on tap when The Gardens on El Paseo and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert host Playtime with Santa. Local choirs will also perform holiday entertainment during the event, and treats and refreshments will be provided. A $15 donation to participate benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert.

Santa Fly-In and Winter Fun Land
Palm Springs Air Museum
Saturday, December 9 – Sunday, December 10
11am – 1pm

For a truly splashy arrival, it’s hard to beat the Santa Fly-In at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Santa Claus arrives in his airplane at 11am, greeting all the good girls and boys who have come to see him. In addition to sitting for photographs and having a little gift for each child, Santa will open his Winter Fun Land complete with snow direct from the North Pole!

Breakfast with Santa
The Living Desert
Saturday, December 16
Seating One: 7:30 – 9:00am (Members only)
Seating Two: 9am (Open to the public)

In addition to his regular visits during WildLights, Santa Claus returns to The Living Desert for Breakfast with Santa. Spend the morning with jolly St. Nick, make presents for the animals at The Living Desert, and have a close-up encounter with his reindeer—all guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.

Paws ‘n Claus
The Gardens on El Paseo
Saturday, December 16
10am-1pm

Are your pets your “babies”? No problem! Paws ‘n Claus at The Gardens on El Paseo is the place to be. Bring your canine pals to be photographed Santa, and enjoy fun pet activities and treats for you and your dog. Your $15 donation benefits Animal Samaritans.

Santa Paws 5K
American Legion, Palm Springs
Saturday, December 16
9am

You’ll be able to spot a slew of Santas at the 6th Anniversary Santa Paws 5K because each participant receives a Santa suit complete with jacket, pants, belt, hat and beard that can be worn during the event and is then yours to keep! This is a dog-loving fun run/walk benefitting Guide Dogs of the Desert, so strap the reindeer antlers on Rover, and bring him along, too.

Updated November 2017

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