Children have a wide variety of reactions to seeing Santa in the flesh. Some of them get dizzy with the magic of it all and stare into his bearded face with wonder and awe. Others climb up on his lap with a businesslike sense of purpose, firmly dictating their lists. Still others – many, many others, it seems – take one look at this strange man, and another look at Mommy or Daddy backing away, and burst into tears of panic.
Whatever the outcome, a visit to Santa is an iconic childhood experience, well worth a few salty tears for the photos and stories you’ll have for later. After all, don’t most of us know how we reacted when we saw Santa, even if we don’t actually remember it? It becomes a part of family lore.
So do your part this Christmas season and take your kids to see the closest thing to a rock star they have in life.
Santa appears by locomotive at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore on Dec. 1 to kick off the holiday season with the museum’s Magical Holiday Express, a celebration in the B&O Roundhouse dedicated to trains of all sizes and shapes, favorite holiday characters and festivities and a winter wonderland of family fun and activities. The fun continues with special events on weekends until Dec. 31. >> Dec. 1-Dec. 31, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Dec. 24- 25. Tickets required. 410-752-2490. www.borail.org
Celebrate with Santa at the Historic Westminster’s Miracle on Main Street, featuring the town’s tree-lighting ceremony and Holiday Electric Parade, which kicks off at 5 p.m. on Pennsylvania Avenue. After the parade, enjoy the tree lighting and anticipate Santa’s arrival. >> Nov. 25, 5 to 8 p.m. Free. www.westminstermd.gov
The Kennedy Krieger Institute’s annual Festival of Trees will once again light up the Maryland State Fairgrounds with holiday cheer, decorated trees, children’s activities, live entertainment, one-stop holiday shopping and a visit from Santa himself, all in support of the Baltimore nonprofit that serves children and adolescents with disorders of the brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system. >> Nov. 24-25, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets required. Cow Palace at Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, TK address? 443-923-7300. www.festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org
This year’s Christmas Village in Baltimore will feature a Santa House, located in a cozy heated tent right by the main food court. Santa will be there every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Be sure to check in for enjoyable Santa events like breakfast with Santa, special kids Fridays and photo sessions with Santa for your pets. >> Nov. 23-Dec. 24, Thurs.-Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Closed Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12. Free. Baltimore Inner Harbor. www.baltimore-christmas.com
Choo, choo! The 60-foot holiday train will be rolling into The Shops at Kenilworth Nov. 18 to Jan. 5, complete with five trains and plenty of fun. Santa, of course, won’t be far behind. See him Nov. 18 to Dec. 24 on the second floor. 410-321-1901. theshopsatkenilworth.com
Merry Arrivals at the Malls
Jingle all the way to The Mall in Columbia, where Santa will arrive on Nov. 12. 410-730-3300, www.themallincolumbia.com
Catch Santa’s big arrival with his little elves at the Marley Station Mall in Glen Burnie 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Nov 19. From then on, children can greet the jolly old soul at the Lower Level Center Court from 6 to 8 p.m. 410-766-2033, www.marleystation.com
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, we’re telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to Towson Town Center on Nov. 11, in the Grand Court Level 1! 410-494-8800, www.towsoncenter.com
Mondawmin Mall’s “Santa Luke” will be making his marvelous entrance on Nov. 25 in the mall’s Center Court to hear out children’s Christmas wishes. 410-523-1534, www.mondawmin.com
Make your favorite Christmas wishes known early at White Marsh Mall when Santa arrives Nov. 5. 410-931-7100, www.whitemarshmall.com
—Baltimore’s Child Staff