For first time, Macy’s customers will have to schedule a visit with Santa at flagship store

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 24: A person dressed as Santa Claus waves from a float during the 90th Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — It’s a first for Macy’s customers: you’ll have to schedule your visit to see Old St. Nick.

At Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street, a new policy that went into effect this week has families signing up before sharing their wish list with Santa. Families can schedule their appointment from 30 minutes to five days in advance. Visiting Santa is free at Santaland Herald Square.

Macy’s said the arrangement is meant to shorten wait times and make it easier to see Santa:

Santa’s a popular guy, so the wait times to meet him have been quite long in previous years, especially on our busiest days. The new reservation system is designed to minimize this by scheduling visitors to join the line at a time of your choice, allowing for the best possible holiday experience.

Santaland features a North Police village with elves and a train display. Santa became a holiday icon thanks to the classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street.

According to Macy’s, families can cancel their reservations and make a new one at any time. They can also reserve their spot at a store kiosk. Store officials said families should be mindful of their timeslot:

Santa’s day is packed! To help keep him on schedule, please arrive within your time slot. For example, if you booked for 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., check in with an elf no sooner than 12:30 p.m. and no later than 1 p.m. If you miss your reservation, Santa might be able to see you at another time, but you’ll need to rebook based on availability.

Santaland opened Friday, Nov. 24, and runs through Christmas Eve on Dec. 24. Learn more about Macy’s Santaland on Herald Square at its website.