I think Santa was at Dillard's back in the day (or another major department store). As you entered the area to line up, it was a magical, makeshift hallway with Christmas figures and decorations. I don't mean just a little. A lot. It was fake, white, puffy snow, white and silver glitter, white lights, Rudolph, carolers, evergreens all through this very loooong hallway where the line winded and winded and winded...until finally, after ooooing and aahhhing the whole way, you came to the front where the man of the hour was sitting. There were elves, presents, candy canes. I was a very shy kid, but I am not sure any child could resist the grand finale of sitting on Santa's lap after all of that hype. You know what happened from there. I told Santa what I wanted, received my obligatory candy cane, and off we went.
Santa is different these days. He sits in the middle of the mall, amid the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers, at the end of a long, boring, no frills line. I think I brought Zac to see Santa when he was little only because I felt I was supposed to as a new mom. That was the last time. It's not because the "magic" is not there (or because those pictures cost and arm and a leg). It's because my shy kids might stroke out if I would actually make them sit on Santa's lap. Year after year, I see pictures of kids screaming on this giant, scary man's lap. I just don't see the point. Who knows, maybe one day I'll look back and wish I had those kinds of pics. Actually, as I think this, I imagine the petrified kids I would see in those photos. I imagine what a cat looks like when you try to put it in a bathtub.
So here we are. Another Christmas. With Catie growing up and noticing more around her, it's a different Christmas experience. Santa is everywhere now. Today it was WalMart. No longer do I have the option of quickly shuffling past Santa. Catie stops, pivots, gasps, and is on Santa's lap before I can notice where she went. Abby, to my right, whispers, "I don't want to go, " as she quickly shakes her head.
Last week, we had a visit with Santa while visiting my mom. It was a Country Christmas (a week before Thanksgiving and 87 degrees). We were some of the first in line, and Santa was in a great, big, magical sleigh. Catie bounced in and out happily. Abby was lured in by a very clever, rosy-cheeked Santa Claus waving a candy cane. That was not the case this time. This Santa just was not as magical sitting between the crafts and the $5 DVD display at WalMart. As we walked away, I could see Abby's entire little body relax a little, as if to say, "Whew! That was a close one."
<------This is not fun. (No, these are not my kids)
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!