Santa Claus sits with children (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Each year, we look at some of the best holiday events in the Bay Area. This year, we’re looking for Santa Claus appearances for the kids in the month of December. It’s still not too late to hand deliver that special Christmas gift list and maybe even have a private word with Santa Claus himself.

Of course, there’s another kind of Santa coming to San Francisco on Dec. 12, 2015 — the annual SantaCon gathering set to convene at noon in Union Square is expected to attract hundreds in its 21st year.

Santa Claus (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Embarcadero Ice Skating Rink
Justin Herman Plaza
Four Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94133

Maybe Santa is built a bit too bulky for ice skating, but he’s still booked to show up at the Holiday Ice Skating Rink at Justin Herman Plaza on the following December afternoons between 1 and 4 p.m. for free photo opportunities. Mark your children’s calendars for a date with Santa on Dec. 19 and Dec. 24. Rumor has it that Mrs. Claus may come along as well, unless she’s too busy readying Rudolph and the team at the North Pole workshop.

SantaCon, San Francisco (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Santa At Westfield City Center
865 Market St.
San Francisco, Ca
(415) 495-5656

While out double-checking that holiday list with some last-minute shopping, why not bring the kids along and make sure they get their final wish list items in to the big guy before Christmas day? Santa will be a constant presence at the historic dome, visiting with kids from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. almost every day through Christmas Eve. The historic dome also makes the perfect setting for a family photo op with Santa that will be a family treasure for many holiday seasons to come.

Zoo Lights At San Francisco Zoo
Sloat Boulevard at the Great Highway
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 753-7080

Santa and his reindeer will all be available for meeting and greeting at the gorgeous annual lights display at the San Francisco Zoo. Sip on cocoa while strolling through the magical light displays, and let the kids marvel over Santa’s four reindeer who gave him a ride over to the event. Then, the kids can meet the big man himself and give him their final Christmas wish items. There will also be carousal rides, silent disco and even snow flurries (a true Christmas miracle here in San Fran!) through Dec. 23.

The Village At Corte Madera
1618 Redwood Highway
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 924-8557

Catch Santa here right through Christmas Eve. He’s making a list and checking it twice every day from morning ’til evening for photos and visits. The Village at Corte Madera is one of many shopping malls where Santa photos are happening this holiday season, including Town Center at Corte Madera, Stanford Mall, Northgate Mall, Hillsdale Shopping Center, Stonestown, Stoneridge Mall, Bayfair Mall and Westfield Shopping Centre.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Bay City Guide, AXS, Examiner and more.