Today, as part of the Ohio Blogging Association’s All State Blog Swap, I’m going to introduce you to Elizabeth Wantz from the Lake County Visitors Bureau.  Throughout Ohio, bloggers have been teamed up to guest post on different sites.  For a full listing of participants, visit Poise In Parma today.


In this holiday season, families have multiple chances to visit Santa such as Country Lights at Lake Farmpark featuring thousands of Christmas lights on view by horse-drawn carriage and Holiday Strolls through Downtown Willoughby and Painesville! You can even see the Grinch as Santa in Fairport Harbor (although right now he is still on the naughty list). Perhaps, though, we are not all aware of the more unique Santa events happening in Lake County!

Great Lakes Mall will hold a Caring Santa™ event this holiday season on Sunday, December 2 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Caring Santa is a special event dedicated to families that have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit The Santa Photo Experience located in the Dillard’s south concourse.

Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s magical visit with Santa. This environment includes:

• Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the Santa set, dimming the lights, and shutting down fountains during the duration of the event.

• Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called.

• Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the ‘wait’ period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.

This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls.

“Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”

Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Great Lakes Mall by going to Attendees should enter the mall through the food court doors the morning of the event.

Another unique opportunity this holiday season is Pet Photo Night with Santa! If you are looking for your pet to visit Santa, Great Lakes Mall will host Pet Photo Night where families and individuals can bring in dogs and cats for photos with Santa on Sunday, December 2 and Sunday, December 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. Dogs, cats and their owners are invited to join Santa in his sleigh at Great Lakes Mall located in the Dillard’s South concourse. Each pet will receive a treat bag, if they’re on the “nice list,” of course.

No matter how you come to visit Santa in Lake County this year, the Lake County Visitors Bureau wishes you a warm holiday greeting and a jolly Christmas season!

-Elizabeth Wantz, Social Media Specialist

Lake County Visitors Bureau




 Posted by at 1:01 PM

  4 Responses to “Blog Swap: Great Lakes Mall Caring Santa™”

  1. Elizabeth,

    I love the entire concept of the Caring Santa event. I’ve got a huge list of Family Friendly Christmas events on my blog and I’ll be sure to add it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this info – I’ll definitely pass it on. And I just might need to take Buffy in for a visit with Santa too – hopefully she’ll be better behaved than last time!

  3. Hi Danielle and Crystal,

    No problem, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I want to thank Lyn very much for letting me guest blog! It was a wonderful experience and she is a great writer and advocate. Best holiday wishes to everyone!


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