Saturday, December 11, 2010

Visit with Santa

I think Santa is creepy. There, I said it. I THINK SANTA IS CREEPY. Maybe I should clarify, the real Santa, the magic of Christmas, is not creepy at all. Mall Santa's, or any sort of Santa who's lap you can sit on is creepy to me. Really really creepy.  Not to mention confusing to kids. It's like a scary movie, as soon as you actually show the monster, it's not as scary. Same with Santa, as soon as you actually see him in the mall, somehow not as magical.

However, since having kids, I have gamely headed every year to see him with a smile on my face and excitement in my voice. Despite this, my daughter apparently believes as I do, that mall Santa's are creepy. So every year, she says she wants to go see him, we go and when it's her turn she tries to talk to him from as far away as possible despite my reassurances that it's OK. I have pictures of her perched on the very edge of his lap and several of me sitting next to him holding her. In none of them does she look thrilled and every time, after paying $20 for the picture I swear we aren't doing it again.

This year, not seeing Santa was part of my "simplifying Christmas" plan, which is working in some ways and not working in others. I figured that it's no one's really favorite part of Christmas, the kids could still write letters to him and no one would miss it. Well, as happens so often with the second kid, I overlooked Mr. T. This morning, Peter mentioned that one of the fire stations at his department was having a holiday parade and an open house that Santa would be at. So, I figured sure, we could head to the fire station (they have fire boats there!), watch the parade from inside the bay (pouring down rain outside), have some cookies and hot chocolate and head home for rest time. Easy, not super crowded and the kids would be occupied. Well, once we told Mr. T Santa might be there he was beside himself, so so so excited. Jumping up and down excited. When we got there, we watched the parade and then he got in the Santa line (2nd kid in line) and eagerly waited to see him. Miss E looked at me and for the first time ever, asked if she could skip sitting on his lap and help me take pictures instead. Yes please! It turned out great. When it was Mr. T's turn he hopped right up on Santa's lap (no coaxing from us) and told him precisely what he wanted for Christmas. Huge smiles. I snapped some pictures (no $20 charge for crappy pictures) and we headed out for cookies.

During cookies Miss E pulled me aside and asked if she would still get presents even though she didn't talk to Santa. Of course honey, I told her, we wrote letters. I have explained to the kids that the mall Santa's aren't the real Santa's but his helpers because he's too busy to be everywhere at once. But sometimes, I tell them, the real one comes down and fills in as a surprise and you never know. I guess she thought if we didn't visit them, she wouldn't get anything.

As we started to walk back to our car in the rain, I looked at my happy little guy and thought that yes, if that was what visiting Santa would be like every year, then I could do it.

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