More than a shopping destination — University Mall events help build family traditions

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University Mall has a variety of events for the family during the holiday season. (Photo courtesy University Mall)

University Mall has a variety of events for the family during the holiday season. (Photo courtesy University Mall)

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Tradition, entertainment and lasting memories. These are terms people don’t typically think of when discussing a mall during the busiest shopping time of the year — but these words perfectly describe the holiday experience University mall provides in December.

“We’ve tried to have a holiday campaign where you come to the mall and you’ve created your traditions with the family at the mall,” said Cindy Nguyen, marketing director.

Don’t get caught in the hustle and bustle this holiday season, but instead take a moment to pause and enjoy the many opportunities at University Mall that go beyond the shopping experience. Here are four family-friendly events at University Mall during December.

Santa’s Village

When: Nov. 28 – Dec. 20 (10 a.m.–9 p.m.), Dec. 22–23 (10 a.m.–10 p.m.), Dec. 24 (9 a.m.–6 p.m.)
Hours: Vary
Where: Santa’s Village
Cost: FREE to visit Santa. Pictures are optional if you want to buy them.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Old Saint Nick. Bring the kids to tell Santa Claus their Christmas wish list.

Storytelling Time

When: Dec. 8–15 (Monday-Friday)
Hours: 6 p.m.
Where: In a vacant space across from The Gap
Cost: $6 per child (3+)

If a quick visit with Santa Claus seems impersonal to you and your little ones, come to Santa’s Storytelling Time for a more intimate meeting with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“It’s going to be your classic stories,” Nguyen said. “They’ll be singing some Christmas music. And it is just a great opportunity for kids to have some one-on-one time with Santa.”

You MUST pre-purchase tickets at the Customer Service desk in the mall.

The Giving Tree

When: Nov. 26–Dec. 13
Where: Near Customer Service desk

The holiday season means an increased awareness of your blessings and more opportunities to serve. Help out local families that need a little help by picking up a tag from the Giving Tree, shopping and delivering unwrapped gifts back to the Giving Tree.

“That’s always been very successful,” Nguyen said. “A lot people take time during the holiday season to give back.”

United Way provides the names for the Giving Tree.

Holiday Talent Showcase

When: Dec. 8–19 (Monday-Friday)
Hours: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Where: Near the treehouse in the mall
Cost: FREE

Enjoy live musical performances with the Holiday Talent Showcase. Throughout December, the mall sets up risers by the treehouse and local groups and artists share their holiday related talent with shoppers.

“We’ve opened it to any type of groups,” Nguyen said. “We like having dance groups come and instrumental groups, but we do only like to have holiday performances.”

If you are interested in performing, contact the Mall Management Office (801) 224-0810.

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