I know we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet, but it's sure beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... especially if you're at a local mall.
Santa Claus is making his arrival starting this weekend for pictures and to take those Christmas lists. Here's where to find him.
- Triangle Town Center will welcome Santa on Saturday. He'll be at the mall for pictures through Dec. 24. Special events planned in the next six weeks include Santa pet photos and holiday music concerts. You also can get a Santa Fast Pass to avoid waiting in line for your pictures.
- The big guy also will begin his visit at Cary Town Center on Saturday. He'll be at the mall through Dec. 24. But, first, on Saturday, Nov. 7, the mall will celebrate Santa's arrival from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with live performances and opportunities to support the Raleigh Rescue Mission.
- Santa arrives at Crabtree Valley Mall at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 14, for a special breakfast catered by Chick-fil-A. Reservations for the breakfast are required as space is limited. Call the mall office at 919-787-2506 to reserve your spot. New this year at Crabtree: The mall has unveiled a new online reservation system to book visits with Santa. The online system begins Nov. 8 for the general public, but we have details about an opportunity to book your time now before it gets busy. Santa will be at the mall through Dec. 24.
- In Fayetteville, Santa will sit for pictures from Saturday, Nov. 7, through Dec. 24 in the food court at Cross Creek Mall. A pajama party with Santa is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6. Kids 12 and under who come in their pajamas will get a special pillowcase to take home (while supplies last). The mall also will offer a Fast Pass so shoppers can avoid lines to see St. Nick.
- Santa will arrive at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham on Nov. 20. He'll be there through Christmas Eve. Southpoint also will offer an online reservation system this year so you don't have to wait in line and, bonus, if you do reserve your slot, you save 30 percent off your picture order.
- Santa begins sitting for pictures at Northgate Mall in Durham on Nov. 21. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Nov. 21, the mall will celebrate Santa's arrival with New Orlean's style parade band, the Bulltown Strutters, who will lead Santa into his workshop and town hall. Kids are invited to join the parade with Santa, then make their own ornaments or complete coloring pages. Santa will begin sitting for photos at 11 a.m., Nov. 21. He'll be at the mall through Dec. 24. Santa's Workshop, new this year to Northgate, will remain open from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Saturdays from Nov. 21 to Dec. 19, with art activities, puppet shows, balloon twisting and more.
- Santa stops at Brier Creek Commons for a tree lighting and other activities from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 13. The north Raleigh shopping center offers free sleigh rides on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 13 to Dec. 20.
- Santa will light the giant Christmas tree at North Hills in Raleigh during a special event from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 21, which includes Santa lighting the giant tree in the center of the complex. North Hills also will open a tree lot starting Nov. 21 off of Lassiter Mill Road near JCPenney. Kids also can visit with Santa for free at the tree lot from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. Be sure to bring your own camera!
- Cameron Village's Holiday Open House in Raleigh is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 19. The evening includes visits with Santa, a real snow sliding slope, live music, clowns, jugglers and, for the first 800 guests, a $25 Cameron Village gift certificate when you spend $100.
- Waverly Place in Cary will light its tree during an event from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 20. The event includes music, visits with Santa, s'mores and more.
- And Park West Village in Morrisville will display its Magical Winter Lights from Dec. 11 to Dec. 20. The light shows run nightly every 15 minutes and include falling snow. The weekends also include free train rides, carolers, hot chocolate and storytime with Santa. (This one is a new addition to my family's holiday traditions. We had a great time last year).