Macy’s 53rd Annual Santaland in Downtown Minneapolis

One of my FAVORITE holiday traditions is visiting the downtown Minneapolis Macy’s display. While the story hasn’t changed in several years {A Day in the Life of an Elf} I love bringing the kids downtown and enjoying a fun city day, visiting the display, eating cookies as big as their heads, choosing a new ornament for our tree and of course, going home with a box of Frango mints.

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We attended the Macy’s Santaland media preview last week and the evening was magical. From dinner in The Oak Grill to taking our time walking through the display to the newest addition of a Build a Bear shop INSIDE the Macy’s Santaland gift shop, it was a perfect night.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re going to go:

  • Santaland is open during Macy’s store hours and lines can get long on weekends and even evenings as you get close to Christmas.

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  • It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk through the display which includes a story to be read aloud.
  • You can visit Santa after or you can bypass that for Mrs. Claus’ bakery. {Since our family doesn’t do Santa, we go straight for the cookies so I can’t give you much insight on the Santa visit.}
  • Cookies range in price from $2.50-4.95.
  • There’s a gift shop that sells all sorts of toys ranging from Barbies and trains to Melissa & Doug.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Build A Bear right on site. While they have all the traditional bears and characters and outfits they also have fun reindeer and other Christmas characters. Pricing is around $20 and up. It’s in the back of the gift shop so easy enough to avoid with your kids if you want to or make it a fun part of your day.


  • Kids can write their letters to Santa and for every letter dropped in the Macy’s mail box Macy’s will donate $1 to Make A Wish.


  • NEW THIS YEAR: You can buy a Wish Writer for $14.99 with $1 of every purchase benefiting Make A Wish. These are interactive and used with an app to write fun letters to Santa and play games that teach the importance of giving!

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  • NEW THIS YEAR: To celebrate the season of giving, the Paper and Packaging – How Life Unfolds ™ campaign, in conjunction with Macy’s, is offering #sharepackage, a pre-paid, pre-addressed postal box guests can fill for children in local children’s hospitals over the holidays. {This means that if you ship a package it will benefit children at YOUR nearest Children’s Hospital. I LOVE that!} Share a picture of your #sharepackage giving on social media to help spread cheer to children and families away from home at the holidays.
  • For more visit

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Do you usually visit Macy’s during the Christmas season? What’s your favorite part?


Twin Cities Experience Gift Guide 2015

I am all about experience gifts for Christmas. I just, as I’ve said a few dozen times before, don’t think kids need a lot of toys and hate the idea of buying something that gets tossed aside a week after Christmas and never played with again. That’s why we really try to focus on opportunities for experiences. Things like tickets to concerts and sporting events, memberships to museums or passes to the zoo, even the theater. I would much rather skimp on “stuff” so my kids can have experiences like travel and culture and theatre.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite Christmas experience gifts for 2015 below, feel free to share your own ideas in the comments and I will try to add to this post.

For the kids: 

Minnesota Children’s Museum


With TWO Twin Cities locations {St. Paul and MOA} it’s really the best kind of gift for families. {Check out my post on the Mall of America pop up museum here.}  Use my code: 141019053 online or in person at the museum to receive $15 off of a membership that is good through May 2017 at BOTH locations. Discount expires 1/15/16 and is NOW available.

Minnesota Children’s Theatre


You know how much I LOVE being able to take my kids to the children’s theater well here’s your chance to make it a family affair. Get four tickets to a 2016 show for $100. Upcoming shows include: The Frog Bride, Snowy Day & other Ezra Jack Keats stories, Animal Dance and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Purchase by 12/12/15 and you’ll have the vouchers by Christmas. Now available.

Twin Cities Kids Club


Pay one rate and receive discounts all year long? Sign me up! Twin Cities Kids Club has discounts literally ALL over the metro area fro BOGO at Airmaxx to BOGO Pump it Up to BOGO Play & Learn Cafe and more. For $49.95 {plus tax} you can get a membership good for an entire year. Not only is this is a good option for YOU but think gifts too. Now available.

For the adults:

Pub Pass

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Have someone in your life who likes beer? Buy a Pub Pass. Good for a free pint of beer at 25 different pubs in the Twin Cities you can’t beat the $25 price. Bonus: For orders placed between now and Black Friday if you buy four you get one free. Five Pub Passes for $100. Now available.

Lela Restaurant/Sheraton Bloomington


Purchase a Lela gift card valued at $100 or more and receive a complimentary one night stay at Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in 2016. The stay is valid for a one night stay Thursday- Sunday through 2016 based on hotel availability. This is a great deal. Not only is Lela a FANTASTIC new restaurant in the Twin Cities but the hotel has been newly renovated and what parents AREN’T looking for a night away. Can’t beat this one. It’s not available online so make plans to stop in to pick this one up. Available starting 11/27 through 12/26/15.


Do you like giving these kind of gifts? What sorts of experience gifts do you like to give? 

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