Santa will be visiting all three of Estero’s major shopping centers this holiday season, promising presents to good boys and girls, as well as pets.
Local mall managers say they are encouraged by sales thus far in 2012, and they expect seasonal sales to be strong. Coconut Point, Miromar Outlets and Gulf Coast Town Center each have a full lineup of festivities planned throughout the months of November and December.
“The holidays are always a favorite time of year here at Coconut Point,” said Tara Beauchesne, director of marketing and business development. “This year, for the ﬁrst time ever, we are thrilled to be able to bring Santa Claus to the shopping center to meet with our young visitors, families and even furry friends to share the spirit and magic of the holiday season.”
Santa arrives at Coconut Point November 24 for the Tree Lighting ceremony. The evening also includes family Christmas caroling.
The Jolly Ol’ Elf will arrive a few days earlier at Miromar Outlets. Holiday shopping madness begins at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night during the annual Before Midnight at Miromar.
The tradition started four years ago when Miromar became the ﬁrst shopping center in Southwest Florida to open at midnight on the day after Thanksgiving. Last year, the outlet mall pushed its opening up to 11 p.m. This year, it’s even earlier.
“It’s crazy,” said General Manager Jeff Staner. “We have to hire extra traffic control and security. It’s a constant rush of people. They’ll start showing up at nine o-clock and stay until nine o’clock in the evening the next day.”
The outlet mall will be fully decorated for the holidays, and Santa will be available for photos with children and pets.
Gulf Coast Town Center also goes all out with holiday decorating. The mall lights up its 40 Medjool Palm trees along University Plaza and Market Plaza, as well as the trees in the sign on I-75. This year, the shopping center is adding a 24-foot LED Christmas tree to the scene in University Plaza.
Santa must be an outdoorsman because he arrives earliest of all to Bass Pro Shops. Old St. Nick arrives at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 and stays through Christmas as part of Bass Pro’s enchanting Santa’s Wonderland. Before Santa arrives, families may enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as they wait for his sleigh to land, followed by the ceremonial tree lighting.
Gulf Coast Town Center also is host to a number of holiday concerts and school performances throughout the months of November and December. Miromar is planning several children’s activities throughout the season, including cookie decorating in Playland on December 15.
At Coconut Point, the Green Market begins this month, happening every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The seasonal market, which runs through April, is a great place to ﬁnd unique artisan gifts.
Other gift ideas from local mall managers include fragrance gift sets, designer handbags, Waterford Crystal stemware or the new iPhone 5.
Lindsay Nicole is a new boutique at Gulf Coast Town Center featuring unique gifts for the home, babies or any woman on your list, said Assistant General Manager Ashleigh Henry. For guy gifts, she suggests shopping at Giacomo Battaglia for Men, which sells custom-made Italian dress shirts, ties, and suits.
For the more sporty members of the family, Henry suggests skateboards, surfboards or swimwear from Ron Jon Surf Shop or any number of outdoor recreation items from Bass Pro.
At Coconut Point, Beauchesne highlights the lovely and unique jewelry pieces from Pandora. She also notes Felix Andrew Aveda Salon will help with hair and makeup for holiday festivities. If you’re looking for something chic to wear to the party, try an Antonio Melani Italian Cashmere sweater, available in bright colors and color block styles, exclusively from Dillard’s.
Miromar has added a Coach Men’s Outlet to its list of more than 140 designer and brand name retailers. Staner notes that a gift card is always the perfect size and color.
Estero is known as the “shopping capital of Southwest Florida,” and for good reason. With the many gift options available at Coconut Point, Miromar Outlets and Gulf Coast Town Center, there’s no need to look anywhere else this holiday season.