Have you heard about the new Santa at Barrington’s Ice House Mall? He recently made his debut, visiting with children during the Village of Barrington’s Snow Much Fun festivities and his first visitors are raving about the striking resemblance!
Ice House Mall Marketing Director, Maria Straussner, says she went on a hunt to hire a new St. Nick after learning the previous Santa would not be back for this season. She reached out to a Chicagloand santa network and discovered Howard, a retired Vietnam War veteran who is brand new to the Santa scene this year.
“Howard came in for an interview and, the moment he walked into my office, I knew he was perfect,” Maria says. “He embodies what you would think or envision in your mind Santa to be. He’s very kind, he’s soft spoken, he loves children and even has children and grandchildren of his own. When you meet him, you’ll see what I mean. He just has that Santa quality. He’s a gift.”
Howard says kids started mistaking him for Santa when he decided to stop shaving and grew a beard a couple of years ago. “Little kids would stand by their parents and stare at me and look again, then they’d come up and ask if I was Santa.”
“It’s wonderful to see that look in their eyes and the joy they have that Santa’s around,” Howard says. “They’re so precious and it’s magical.”
This is Howard’s first holiday officially visiting with kids in full Santa attire. Beyond his beard and gentle demeanor, I asked him to share his secret to being Santa. “It’s simple,” he says. “It’s all in the HO HO HO!”
So don’t miss your chance to visit with Santa at the Ice House Mall. He’s there Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 3 p.m. through Christmas. During Christmas week, he’ll be visiting with families from noon to 3 p.m. on Monday, December 21st through Wednesday, December 23rd. Kids can drop their wish lists in Santa’s mailbox to the North Pole and there will be free holiday gifts for all children who visit with Saint Nick.
Maria says don’t forget to bring your cameras for this year’s Santa’ photos! “He’s going to be everything that every child and parent envisions so bring the grandparents, aunts, uncles and take as many photos as you’d like. It’s all courtesy of the stores here at the Ice House Mall. It’s our thank you to our customers and to the community.”
Located in downtown Barrington, the Ice House Mall & Village Shops is a one of a kind shopping destination with a wide array of stores offering everything from women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, accessories, fine art, antiques and more. Only at the Ice House Mall can you dine at Chessie’s Restaurant and sit inside a vintage Illinois Railway Dining Car for lunch or dinner, pamper yourself at Sanctuary Salon and Spa or visit The Travel House for expert guidance when planning your next weekend getaway or vacation. Guests travel from near and far to experience the Ice House Mall’s turn-of-the century architecture at this historic landmark. Built in 1904, the train-line property was first home tot the Bowman Dairy and then the Jefferson Suburban Ice Company before becoming the Ice House Mall & Village Shops. For more information, visit IceHouseMall.com.