Reid and I went to the mall last night to see Santa. I noticed last Tuesday that there was no one on Santa’s lap, let alone in line, and wanted to get a photo under the same conditions. Reid was excited by the prospect of seeing the Jolly Old Elf and telling him what she wants for Christmas – still a dolly and a house for the dolly – and even talked about getting her picture taken in positive terms. Until we started up the ramp to St Nick’s stage, that is. Midway up Reid stopped and said she didn’t want to get her picture taken with Santa unless I went with her. I had outsmarted her, though – I was prepared for the request and already wearing a red shirt. Last year I was wearing nothing special, or maybe something worse than that, and so I had to buy a sweater before we got our picture taken.
We walked right up to Santa’s throne, or rather, I walked up dragging Reid who was clinging to the leg that was farthest from Santa. Place d’Orleans has a throne that seats Santa and another adult or maybe two kids. I’m glad for this foresight since I don’t think Santa wants me on his lap! I got Reid on my lap, again as far away from Santa as possible, but couldn’t convince her to speak to him. He was a handsome and authentic-looking Santa who could have spoken with her in English or French – I love that about our neighbourhood. Reid and I had discussed the fact that we’d be seeing a “helper Santa” since the real one is busy with the elves at the North Pole. I thought that she might be less intimidated but it doesn’t seem to have helped. Once we were done, Reid did accept a colouring book from Santa. We’ll have that to build on for next year ;+)
Unlike all previous years, Reid seems to be smiling during the picture. We have pictures of her crying outright, just plain unhappy and looking at Santa like he’s an alien or maybe just a freak. I joked with Ken that I figure Reid will let me stop appearing in her pictures with Santa once she has a husband to take my place. Really, her fear of strange men dressed in red is probably healthy. We tell her not to talk to strangers but it’s okay to snuggle with them for pictures?
If you’re thinking of a picture with a mall Santa, go soon and avoid the crowds. You’ll also find out what your kids want while there is still a chance that a store might have it in stock. If you have a story about taking a kid to see Santa, I’d love to hear it.