Even before the turkey was baked for Thanksgiving, Santa Claus had set up shop around the Baltimore area. And, if he missed a spot before the turkey sandwiches that evening, he arrived with much fanfare the day after.
All Santas will be around now until Christmas Eve at malls and shopping centers, starring in holiday extravaganzas that also include carolers and choruses, toy drives and food collections, photographers and puppets.
Ancillary events vary from place to place, but Santa Claus is the symbolic Yuletide shopping constant, ready to take note of innumerable wish lists, which should always be checked twice before submitting.
These are some of the places where the white-bearded, red-suited old gentleman may be found during the holiday season:
Jennifer Road and Defense Highway, Parole
Santa is offering audiences in Center Court during mall hours in an area featuring a Chesapeake Bay theme. Entertainment daily Dec. 12-20. Call: (410) 266-5432.
400 N. Center St., Westminster
Santa is available 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Breakfast with Santa Dec. 4, 11 and 18, reservations required. Pet photographs with Santa, 6 p.m. Dec. 12. Choral groups 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec 4-22. Call: (410) 876-8870.
Eastern Avenue and North Point Boulevard
Visit with Santa from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays at his castle in Center Court. Photos with Santa. Musical entertainment Dec. 2, 9 and 16 by local community groups, churches and schools at Atrium Cafe-Food Court. Fashion event and reindeer naming contest, both Dec. 4. Food drive Dec. 11. Call: (410) 284-0934.
Golden Ring Mall
6400 Rossville Blvd., Rosedale
Santa arrived in mid-November and is at Center Court 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. Professional photographer available or take your own. All-day 98-Rock food drive Dec. 3. WPOC-FM toy drive Dec. 11. WQSR-FM Shop and Bop Dec. 12 and 19. Oldies concerts by Marvelettes at 5 p.m. Dec. 12 and the Tokens, 5 p.m. Dec. 19. Caroling by community groups and churches at various times. Call: (410) 391-8400.
200 E. Pratt St.
Santa's Place is open at the Harborplace Amphitheatre from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Santa's Petting Zoo will be open noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. Skate with Santa 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 11 and 18 at the Rash Field ice rink. Evening concerts Dec. 10, 11 and 19. Parade of Lighted Boats, 6 p.m. Dec. 4. Call: (410) 332-4191.
696A Belair Road, Bel Air
Children may seek out Santa in the Food Court 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The Peanuts Gang will be at the mall at 2 p.m. Dec. 4, concluding the visit with a sing-along at 8p.m. Puppet shows are scheduled Dec. 8 and 15. Call: (410) 879-9319.
Ritchie Hwy., Glen Burnie
Catch Mr. Claus at the North Pole Court 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Pet photos with Santa 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 9. Dogs must be on a leash; cats in pet carriers. Holiday caroling and concerts on an irregular basis Dec. 2-23. WPOC-FM toy campaign Dec. 1-20. Call: (410) 760-5600.
Hunt Valley Mall
118 Shawan Road, Cockeysville
Santa will be in Center Court on the lower level. Hunter the Valley Bear will be at the First National Bank entrance. Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 11, tickets $3. Sing-along with Santa 4 p.m. Dec. 7. Concert performances throughout the holiday. Autograph sessions with former Oriole players Boog Powell Dec. 4 and Mike Flanagan, Al Bumbry and Elrod Hendricks Dec. 18. Call: (410) 785-3770.
The Mall in Columbia
10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy.
You can find Santa Claus holding forth in Hecht's Court whenever the mall is open. Holiday entertainment by ensembles, singers, puppets, dancers and bell ringers Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 19. Hanukkah celebration, Dec. 13. Call: (410) 730-3300.
7900 Ritchie Hwy., Glen Burnie
Santa will be at the Grand Court during regular mall hours. Photos with Santa. Breakfast with Santa Dec. 4, 11 and 18, including a movie. Tickets $2. North Polestal Service, where children can send a letter to North Pole, is a new feature. School choral groups and instrumental groups perform Mondays through Fridays. Entertainment, including puppet, magic and variety shows and music and barbershop groups, on Saturdays. Singing by church choirs on Sundays. Call: (410) 760-8900.
1200 Mondawmin Concourse
Santa will be joined by Mrs. Claus this year at Center Court, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Photo packages available. Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 4, admission is a canned food donation. Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Dec. 9. Performances by singers, school bands, puppets, dancers. Call: (410) 523-1534.
Owings Mills Mall