Take the kids to see Santa, but don't stop there

Pictures with Santa can be much more than simply plopping your kid on St. Nick’s lap. Create holiday memories by making a day- or evening-long date out of it. Here are a few suggestions to get those sugarplums dancing in your head:

Breakfast with Santa at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse

Have your morning meal inside these classic digs. Each visit with Santa includes a photo of the experience. Children can whip up additional holiday spirit by engaging in holiday-themed activities. Can’t make it? Santa sets up shop in the courthouse from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10-12 and 17-19; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21. Photos for regular Santa sittings are $5 each.

9-11 a.m. Dec. 11. Gwinnett County residents: $10 adults; $8 children. Nonresidents: $20 adults; $16 children. Pre-registration is required. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 770-822-5450.

Shopping

Cross the street and visit Scotland Yard Antiques, featuring more than 4,000 square feet of retail space. Kids are welcome. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; closed on Sundays. Scotland Yard Antiques, 124 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678-407-1010, www.scotlandyard-antiques.com.

Food

Upscale pub fare can be found at the family-friendly McCray's Tavern on the Square. McCray's Tavern on the Square, 100 N. Perry St., Lawrenceville. 770-407-6754, www.mccraystavern.com.

Other fun

Kids and adults should enjoy the song, dance and holiday cheer found in Aurora Theatre’s annual musical review, “Christmas Canteen.” Through Dec. 23. $16-$35. Aurora Theatre, 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222, www.auroratheatre.com.

Town Center at Cobb

The Santa scene at this bustling mall is all new this year. Kriss Kringle goes green with a set featuring energy-efficient LED lighting. Animals even get in on the act from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 5 when Santa poses with nonexotic pets. From 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 11, the free PJ Party with Santa features story time with St. Nick and Mrs. Claus and milk and cookies. Santa typically takes two 45-minute breaks each day at 1 and 5 p.m. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 2; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 5; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 6-9; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 12; 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Dec. 13-18; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 19; 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Dec. 20-23; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 24. Free. Picture packages start at $22.99. Town Center at Cobb, 400 Ernest W. Barrett Parkway, Kennesaw. 770-424-9486, www.simon.com.

Shopping

The recently renovated Town Center at Cobb boasts newer tenants, including H&M, bebe and Godiva. Popular anchor shops Belk, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Sears remain on the roster.

Food

The Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” gave national exposure to Big Pie in the Sky pizzeria when host Adam Richman succumbed to its Carnivore Challenge, a massive meat-laden creation. Big Pie in the Sky, 2090 Baker Road N.W., Suite A103, Kennesaw. 770-420-8883, http://bigpieinthesky.com.

Other fun

Experience vignettes from “A Christmas Carol” as you take a guided tour during the A Dickens of a Christmas event. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 10; 5-9 p.m. Dec. 11. $7.50; $5.50 ages 4-12; ages 3 and younger free. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117, www.southernmuseum.org.

Santa on the Front Porch

This marks the 23rd year that 84-year-old Robert Gray invites families to his front porch for a free Santa sitting. With a smile tucked underneath a snowy beard, Gray takes his time chatting with children. Parents can bring their own camera and snap away. For those without, instant photos are available for $4 each. Get there early, as more than 200 kids are expected.

2:30-6 p.m. Dec. 12. Santa on the Front Porch, 110 Rockwood Lane, Fayetteville.

Shopping

A short drive away is Fayette Pavilion, a shopping center loaded with popular chains such as PetSmart, Sports Authority, Target and Toys “R” Us. Fayette Pavilion, Ga. 85 and Pavilion Parkway, Fayetteville.

Food

With an exhaustive menu, and breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day, most anyone can find something he or she likes at Broadway Diner, be it a Belgian waffle or a heap of souvlaki. Broadway Diner, 535 S. Glynn St., Fayetteville. 770-716-2628, www.broadwaydiner.us.

Other fun

Relax with a family movie at Cinemark Tinseltown 17. The theater has 3D capabilities, so you can catch Disney’s “Tangled” in all of its golden-locked glory. Cinemark Tinseltown 17, 134 Pavilion Parkway, Fayetteville. 770-460-7226, www.cinemark.com.