Happy holiday shopping — safely — at Fairfax County shopping meccas

Tis the season! This has been a year like no other and Fairfax County’s malls and outdoor shopping destinations have all made modifications to ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable holiday shopping experience.

In response to the pandemic, masks and social distancing is required, per state ordinances, while shopping. Shoppers may want to avoid large crowds by shopping during the early or late extended holiday shopping hours. Expect the biggest crowds during peak shopping hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some stores offer virtual queuing to avoid crowding and curbside pickup.

Here’s a round-up of holiday shopping and event details at the malls and outdoor centers. Check websites for updates. Yes, Santa will be in attendance, but he’ll be wearing a mask and at least 6 feet from your little ones! Some malls are offering virtual visits to Santa, as well. This past year was a “mean one”— so stay tuned –  this holiday season the Grinch will also be appearing at a mall!

Tysons Corner Center

It’s time to get merry! Tysons Corner Center’s retailers are offering a wide variety of convenient ways to tailor the shopping experience during the holiday season, including shopping by appointment, both in person and virtually. Curbside pickup after buying online or by telephone is available at select retailers and restaurants. Virtual queuing is available at Tysons Corner Center through Waitwhile, a virtual waitlist that lets shoppers wait from anywhere and get a text when it’s their turn to visit the store. Mall restaurants are offering general curbside, takeout and socially distant in restaurant and reservation options. Outdoor dining options are available on the Plaza via Barrel & Bushel’s holiday themed patio. To see the mall’s holiday hours, click here.

(Photo courtesy of Tysons Corner Center)

Photo ops are available at Tysons Corner Center with Santa—or the Grinch! During your visit with Santa, Santa will be seated a distance, with a physical barrier to prevent young guests from trying to sit on Santa’s lap. Santa, the Tysons Corner set staff, and his young visitors will be wearing masks in compliance with local ordinances. Hand sanitizing stations will be provided by the mall at the Santa experience. For reservations, which are strongly recommended, and additional information on the new contact-less experience, click here.

“2020, you’ve been a mean one!” This year, celebrate the holiday season like never before with a visit to the Grinch’s Cave at Tysons Corner Center, located on Level 2. Your party of up to 5 guests can make reservations to meet The Grinch and interact with him right in his cave, as well as pose for a photo.

In response to the pandemic, according to Tysons Corner Center, this holiday season shoppers will find a top-quality HVAC system, intensified cleaning and sanitizing, plus use of electrostatic sprayers, and more. Key changes at retailers include contactless payment options and plexiglass shields at point of sale, plus social distancing and mask requirements. The center has also launched new and colorful holiday signage throughout the property outlining health and wellness protocols the center has put in place.

Mark your calendar! Upcoming events include a Tysons Corner Center Blood Drive that will be held on Dec. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for details.

Tysons Galleria

A renowned destination for upscale shopping, Tysons Galleria boasts a distinctive collection of high-end retail shops that includes over 30 exclusive-to-market designers. See “Holiday Your Way” to find out about holiday shopping and events at the mall this year.

Tysons Galleria is offering Curbside Pickup with participating stores and restaurants during standard mall hours. Don’t want to wait in line to visit a store? Use Spot Holder to join the virtual wait list in-person or from home. Simply choose when and where you want to shop. Scan the code at your favorite store, or save your spot with this link to get started.

Let the magic begin! Photos are available with Santa, with face coverings for guests and Santa required during the contactless visit. Reservations to visit Santa are strongly encouraged. Walk-up visits will be available, as space allows. This year guests will not sit on Santa’s lap during their interaction, but will still have the opportunity to engage in conversation and a magical experience with Santa, while maintaining physical distance. Click here to learn what to expect during a visit with Santa.

(JingleRing image courtesy of Tysons Galleria)

A virtual visit Santa and Mrs. Claus is also available via JingleRing, a personalized virtual experience with Santa from the safety and comfort of your home. Up to four guests can be invited to join the JingleRing fun with your family. Additional experiences are available, including Storytime with Santa, Storytime with Mrs. Claus, or a personalized pre-recorded video message from Santa. JingleRing supports special needs, with a cast of performers who know American Sign Language (ASL), as well as a Sensitive Santa program for children with special needs. JingleRing also provides the opportunity of selecting a Santa that best represents a family, with many language and ethnicity options.

In terms of mall safety during the pandemic, face coverings are available from most security officers throughout the mall. According to the Galleria, the sheer size of shopping centers – equivalent to multiple football fields in most cases – naturally allows for social distancing. Safety measures are indicated on signs and stickers throughout the mall to identify separate entry and exit doors, help guide one-way traffic, limit gathering, and keep guests at least 6 feet apart.

Tysons Galleria has installed CDC-recommended, hospital-quality MERV 13 air filters that capture airborne viruses in all of its indoor common areas. Plus, according to the mall, indoor areas have high ceilings that provide more space for air particles to move around and thin out, which is similar to being outdoors. Intense and frequent cleanings of high-touch surfaces are conducted before and during operating hours with CDC-recommended products. Guests also have access to touchless doors and hand sanitizer throughout the center.

Tysons Galleria monitors the number of people at the mall in real-time, with signs posted to notify shoppers when the mall is at capacity. Signage throughout the center indicates store capacity limits and dining area limitations. For a more detailed list of all of Tysons Galleria’s COVID-19 health and safety measures, click here.

Visit Tysons Galleria to donate to the Warm for the Winter Coat Drive, now through Saturday, Dec. 12. Tysons Galleria partnered with Volunteers of America to help support the local community and give back to those in need. Join in and spread holiday cheer by donating new coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

Springfield Town Center

Get festive! Springfield Town Center is offering a number of ways to shop safely, however you choose to celebrate this year. See “Holiday Your Way” to find out about holiday shopping and events at the mall this year.

Springfield Town Center offers extended holiday mall hours. Contact-free pickup is available. Simply place your order with a participating retailer and pick up your order contact-free at Springfield Town Center.

To make gift giving easier, Springfield Town Center is offering the opportunity to purchase “Small Surprises,” gift packs that are hand-picked by a personal shopper, customized based on your preferences, and delivered to your home or to the gift recipient’s address.

Visit Springfield Town Center’s real-bearded Santa in Grand Court to capture your holiday memories through December 24. To protect shoppers, reservations are required to take a photo with Santa. Santa’s Safety Rules for staff include that masks are worn by all employees, with their temperatures taken daily. The set is sanitized after each visit. Guests are required to wear masks at all times, except during photo session. When guests arrive, the greeter will check-in each reservation and take temperatures of all guests. A parent/guardian will place children on designated seating. Safety rules are subject to change, per CDC guidelines.

Child(ren) will be able to visit Santa in the comfort of your home via virtual visit. Find your mall location and book your photos with Santa.

Special holiday events include “Santa and Friends,” held on Tuesdays this holiday season featuring Pink Troll on December 8 and Superheroes on December 15. To protect shoppers, reservations are required to take a family portrait with our friends.

(Photo courtesy of Springfield Town Center)

Pet photos with Santa will be held on Mondays on December 7 and 14 in Center Court. To protect shoppers, reservations are required to take a photo of your pet and family with Santa.

Find out more about Springfield Town Center’s social distancing and other safety guidelines by clicking here.

Fair Oaks Mall

Fair Oaks Mall is beautifully decorated for the holidays, with extended holiday hours are posted here. Curbside or Contactless pickup and/or virtual queuing is available at select stores. Check directly with stores and restaurants to find out about availability.

Photo sessions are available at “Santa’s Flight Academy” through December 24. All photo sessions are by reservation only and require pre-payment. Masks required at all times, including the photoshoot, for guests ages 2 and up (and Santa too!). Santa will maintain a 6’ distance from guests at all times. Heightened cleaning protocols and hand sanitizer provided.

Due to the pandemic, Fair Oaks Mall will not host Santa Paws or other special holiday Santa events this year.

As with throughout the pandemic, Fair Oaks is taking the appropriate steps to put the health and safety of customers first to follow local, state and federal laws and mandates, and CDC guidelines. See an overview of the COVID-19 safety precautions here.

Reston Town Center

At the Reston Town Center, free garage holiday parking is available from December 19 to January 3. Many of RTC’s regular traditions continue, such as ice skating at the Pavilion, horse-drawn carriage rides, and mini train rides for the young and young at heart.

This year, in partnership with the Reston Community Center and Reston Town Center Association, an expanded lineup of holiday entertainment is offered at the Reston Town Center on Saturdays and Sundays. All of the events are following COVID-19 safety protocols recommended by the CDC and Commonwealth of Virginia guidelines.

Find out more about the Reston Town Center’s holiday events by clicking here.

Mosaic District

Check out the upcoming holiday events at the Mosaic District, including Santa Firetruck Parades on Saturday, December 5 and Friday, December 18. Unlike previous years, Santa will be taking extra precautions to ensure all the good boys and girls can safely visit and share their wish lists.

Santa will be located on District Avenue in the Target garage lobby on December 5, 11, 18, 19, 23 and 24. (Click link to see hours.)

Mosaic will operate under the guidance from government officials and in accordance with public health guidelines. View COVID-19 community updates for the well-being of the Mosaic community.

Find out more about the Mosaic District’s holiday activities by clicking here.

Fairfax Corner

Joy is in the air at Fairfax Corner this holiday season with Fairfax Corner’s “Make Room for Joy” promotions.

Igloo Lounges at Fairfax Corner (photo courtesy of Fairfax Corner.)

This holiday season Fairfax Corner’s merchants are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their guests in accordance with Virginia statewide measures to contain COVID-19. This includes the requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. Many of the stores are offering contactless curbside pick-up as part of an enhanced safe shopping experience. Visit the directory and contact the store directly for details on their curbside offerings.

Looking for a socially distant, cozy way to celebrate this holiday season? Grab a few friends and book your very own private Igloo Lounge at Fairfax Corner! Whether you’re enjoying an adult beverage or a hot cider, get into the holiday spirit with up to 6 people in your own igloo. Click here for more info.  And grab your friends and family for another fun holiday activity – roasting s’mores around fire pit areas. Click here for more info on the fire pits.

Find out about more Fairfax Corner’s holiday activities by clicking here.

The Shops at Fairfax Square

Located in the heart of Tysons, Fairfax Square defines the luxury shopping experience with extraordinary boutiques, personal shopping services, upscale amenities, and valet parking. Many of the restaurants and retailers are open, with some offering appointments and curbside pickup.

Find out more about Fairfax Square by clicking here.

December 3, 2020