Around Town

Santa arrives for photos at Tysons Corner Center, kicking off holiday festivities

Santa’s Chalet photo station at Tysons Corner Center in 2022 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but Christmas is already in the air at Tysons Corner Center.

After adding holiday decor to its Plaza earlier this month, including a 40-foot-tall walk-in tree, 10-foot-tall snowflakes and a sleigh, the mall rolled out the red carpet today (Thursday) for Santa Claus, who arrived at 7:30 a.m. for a VIP event in Fashion Court on the first floor outside Nordstrom.

The festivities included holiday cookie decorating, letter-writing and gift bags.

Participants were required to donate $10 Best Buddies, which offers mentorship and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The nonprofit relocated its Virginia and D.C. office to Tysons Corner Center last year.

Santa will be in town for photos through Dec. 24. Sessions are available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays, though hours may vary on holidays.

Walk-in visitors will be accepted, but Tysons Corner Center advises pre-booking a time slot to reduce wait times.

Now in his 33rd year appearing at the mall, Santa’s stay will include Pet Nights on Nov. 20 and 27 and Dec. 4, along with a breakfast from 8-9:30 a.m. in the third-level food court on Dec. 2. The breakfast is free for all and will include entertainment, face-painting and other family-friendly activities.

Tysons Corner Center will officially kick off the winter holidays with its annual tree lighting ceremony in the Plaza at 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 17. The “enchanted evening” will include recognition of “a local hero for their commitment to service and passion for education,” according to a press release.

Like in previous years, the ceremony will be accompanied by music and dance performances, a complimentary s’mores and hot chocolate bar, a pop-up retail market, custom drinks from Barrel + Bushel, giveaways and more.

Tysons Corner Center says shoppers can expect additional holiday surprises throughout the next two months.

“Throughout the season, Tysons Corner Center will be delighting its customers with surprise entertainment, festivities, and random acts of kindness, all to enhance their holiday shopping experience,” the mall said in the press release. “For a truly festive holiday, Tysons will feature carolers, gift wrapping, and more surprises to come.”

The mall will be closed on Thanksgiving (Nov. 23), but it will reopen from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. the next day for Black Friday.