Santa is in high demand this holiday season, and one Metro Vancouver shopping centre experienced a surge of Santa interest so strong that they sold out of photo slots with the jolly red man.
“We’re really excited to welcome Santa back this year,” Nicole Lotz, Willowbrook Shopping Centre’s Marketing Director, told Daily Hive.
At their holiday Santa’s Willow Wonderland events, Santa is slated to make his first appearance on Saturday, November 27. Reservations went for sale on Friday, November 12 and sold out fast.
“We had 780 Santa spots that we were putting reservations for out on Friday, and basically, they were gone in two, two and a half hours,” said Lotz.
“We were surprised at how quickly the reservations went,” Lotz said. The centre will not be adding more reservations.
Families can still get photos with Santa without a reservation. The photography team will accommodate walk-ins on the day of.
They can visit the Santa team, leave their name and number, and they’ll get a text when they’re ready.
Last year, the centre offered virtual visits with Santa that were also popular and sold out fairly quickly.
“Our Santa has always been very popular, I think there’s a sense of urgency this year and people are looking to get back to something that’s a little bit normal,” said Lotz.
Other Metro Vancouver malls, like CF Richmond Centre, appeared to have some slots available according to their booking system but many days were full.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Christmas Market opened for the 2021 season after a 2020 hiatus on Saturday, November 13.
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There was a massive line-up of attendees who braved a rainfall warning to get a chance to visit the market.
Can you say pentup demand for holiday cheer? It’s opening day for the Vancouver Christmas Market! 🎄
Even in the heavy rain, the line starts at Jack Poole Plaza and snakes its way deep inside the convention centre parking lot. Watch this time lapse… 👀 pic.twitter.com/WbvOCidO9G
— Kenneth Chan (@iamkennethchan) November 14, 2021
If sold-out Santa photos, long lineups, and a Christmas tree shortage are indicators, Metro Vancouver could have pent-up demand for all things Christmas.