Snow what: Families brush off holiday storm to visit Santa Claus, shop, and eat in Rochester Hills

‘You have to come out, brave the elements’

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich.Christmas weekend started bitterly cold, with blowing snow and lots of icy roads, but it didn’t matter as families visited Santa Claus while also going out shopping and eating.

Downtown Rochester is a magnet during Christmas. It’s not hard to see why, but Friday (Dec. 23) was so cold that it burned out there, and the roads weren’t great.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Patrick Jones, the director of operations at the Rochester Chop House.

What Jones got was a full house and apparently, being cold all day makes you extra hungry.

“A long day, yes, we love it,” Jones said. “This is our time of year. This is our time to thrive. We’ve been really fortunate to still be in business and still be able to provide for our guests. That’s what it’s all about”

Even Santa showed up outside all day as he greeted visitors and took requests.

“I enjoy seeing their faces light up when I ask them, ‘What do you want for Christmas,’” said Christmas icon Santa Claus. “Or the ones that will hide behind you, and you work with them a little bit, and they’ll come in and give you a high five before they leave.”

His only accommodation for the weather was his extra warm custom suit, with families lining up to see him.

Mara MacDonald: “What did you tell Santa?”

Dean Catalano: “A sled and a dirt bike.”

MacDonald: “And what about you?”

Luciana Catalano: “More candles.”

Families were out on the town as many kids had a snow day Friday.

“It’s Christmas,” said Tony Dodson. “It’s a must. You have to come out. You got to brave the elements.”

About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.