Tacoma Mall rolls out holiday cheer

Tacoma Mall Thanksgiving weekend hours

Thanksgiving, Nov. 24 – 6 p.m.- 1 a.m. (Friday)

Friday, Nov. 25 – 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 26 – 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27 – 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Photos with Santa reservations: 


By David Guest

Tacoma Daily Index editor

Black Friday. To some it sounds dreadful. To others, it’s a winner-take-all sport.

The national obsession with Thanksgiving weekend shopping kicks off Thursday at most large stores, which will open around 5 or 6 p.m. or before the turkey bones have been picked clean.

Like waking up at 4 a.m. to go fishing, thousands of dedicated shoppers will roll out of bed early on Friday, Nov. 25 to take advantage of even more retail deals. Stores will open Friday at 6 a.m., or earlier, or some may not have even closed at all. Breakfast can wait.

Like a horse race bettor might prepare for a day of wagering by carefully analyzing the Daily Racing Form, Black Friday shoppers have been pouring over the newspaper ads, studying, comparing, creating checklists and a strategy.

Some have questioned whether shopping at brick-and-mortar stores and malls is going extinct – buried under the pressure of online sales which promote convenience, savings of time and money and the ability to compare products and stores with the click of a mouse and never leaving the house.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, online sales doubled from 2009 to the middle of this summer, while department store sales have dropped 17 percent over the same period.

Last year, Forbes Magazine lamented the collective 30 million square feet of vacant space in malls throughout the nation, saying that it was a sign that shopping malls were in a “death spiral.”

Not so fast, purveyors of shopping doom.

The laptop can’t recreate the physical experience of going into a store and holding an item in your hands.

The Tacoma Mall has been getting ready for holiday shoppers since it opened in 1965. There were no cell phones, ATM machines or personal computers back then. No FedEx either.

But there was Santa Claus, holiday music, jingle bells, ho ho ho and people bought Christmas gifts in person. That tradition lives on today, according to Sarah Bond, Tacoma Mall’s director of marketing and business development.

“Nothing beats touching, feeling and trying on product before making a purchase,” said Bond in a written statement.  “Our retailers are preparing for the holiday season by stocking up on the latest fashions, trends and gifting options to make Tacoma Mall a one-stop shop.”

On Dec. 6, mall visitors will have a new place to stop when the Cheesecake Factory restaurant opens its fourth Washington State location. The Tacoma Mall boasts over 150 shops and eateries and offers many special attractions and events to entice shoppers away from their keyboards.

“The Santa experience opened Nov. 4 and will stay open through Christmas Eve day with other holiday-related events such as the Giving Tree, pet photos with Santa, Caring Santa, Kidgits Santa event, and gingerbread house decorating with local blogger Jenny Keller,” Bond said.

This year will be a little different at the mall. Long-time Santa Rick Harden of Graham died earlier this year at age 63.

“Over the years, our Santa experience has evolved to the beautiful set we have today,” said Bond. “Unfortunately, our wonderful Santa of 15 years passed away earlier this year. Rick Harden will be greatly missed this holiday season.”