There’s nothing like experiencing the holidays through the eyes of a child. My 5-year-old is the perfect age to really get the wonderment of the celebrations. Plus, he’s over the fear of meeting Santa. Last year he brought the Target toy catalog for breakfast at the Pineville Fire Department. (I think he thought a visual aid would be better than an old-fashioned list.)
Many of these events benefit charity — and you can usually avoid the hassle of lines for snapping pictures. Here’s a roundup of where you can break bread with the man in red this month.
The annual event benefits the radio hosts’ charity that provides trips to Disney World for chronically ill and disabled children and their families. One picture per family with Santa, and the admission price includes a continental breakfast.
Date: Saturday, December 5 at Cantina 1511 (4271 Park Road), with slots reserved every half hour starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 11 a.m.
Pineville Fire Department
Santa plus a fire truck — what could be better? The volunteer fire fighters are on hand to make this a fun event, usually including pancakes and eggs.
Date: Saturday, December 5 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (108 Church St., Pineville)
Cost: $5 donation per person
Eat a pancake breakfast, get a photo with Santa and decorate an ornament. The Hall will also host a viewing of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” in the High Octane Theater.
Date: Saturday, December 5 with slots starting at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. (400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.)
Breakfast, crafts and photos with Santa.
Date: Saturday, December 5 at Lowe’s YMCA (170 Joe V. Knox Ave., Mooresville).
Cost: $20 for members and $25 for non-members
Breakfast is open to all guests and includes scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, coffee, juice and milk. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Toys for Tots and guests are encouraged to bring new or gently used coats, which will be donated to Salvation Army.
Date: Saturday, December 12 from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Cost: $5 per person
Open to kids age 2-8 and includes breakfast and holiday crafts.
Dates: Saturday, December 12 and Saturday, December 19, with sessions at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. at Matthews Community Center (100 McDowell St.).
Pancakes with Santa will include a photo op and a balloon artist. This event also helps support Second Harvest Food Bank.
Dates: Saturday, December 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at StoneCrest at Piper Glen.
Cost: Free admission, with varying breakfast prices. Pancakes are $1 each and toppings are another $1.
Annual event for children of active duty, reserve and National Guard military that provides a hot breakfast, pictures with Santa and gifts. Check back on the website for registration details.
Date: Saturday, December 12
This breakfast and pictures-with-Santa event will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Charlotte, which will receive toy donations.
Date: Saturday, December 12 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (210 E. Trade St.)
Cost: Adults are $15, children are $10 or children with a toy are $5. (Littles eat free with their big siblings.)
This event features a tasty-looking spread, including an omelette station, French toast bar, baked pastries, Italian sausage and potatoes with peppers and onion. There will be face painting, and kids get a special gift to take home.
Date: Saturday, December 19 and Monday, December 21 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (4400 Sharon Road).
Cost: $20 for adults, and $10 for kids 12 and younger. Children younger than 2 are free.