The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our house. The tree is twinkling, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, presents are slowly starting to make their way under the tree and Christmas music is constantly playing on the radio. The only thing missing is the picture of our baby sitting smiling perfectly on Santa’s lap lovingly tacked to our refrigerator!
The trip to go see Santa last year was such an enjoyable experience. We went at the perfect time of day to avoid major line-ups, our baby was wearing the perfect outfit and was in a wonderful mood! She was a jolly 6 months old and looked pleased as punch to be hanging out with old Saint Nick. Needless to say we were very happy and proud parents.
So we thought why should anything be different this year? She’s now 18 months old and has such an amazing and loving personality. Certainly she will love the entire process of hanging out with the big man in red. Afterall, “Tis the season to be jolly” or so the song says. So once again, our little angel is wearing the cutest little outfit, ready to go sit on Santa’s knee and tell him what a good girl she’s been all year. I had dreams of her giving Santa high fives and a kiss goodbye, walking out of Santa’s village on her own two feet carrying her little elf toy that she earned for being such a big girl!
Ah dreams, funny thing with dreams is that they don’t often turn out exactly as you had envisioned. We arrived at the mall a mere 20 minutes after Santa opened up shop for the day; us and 65 other parents and children. We had a brief discussion of “should we wait?” and decided yes today is the day! While my husband waited in line my daughter and I walked around nearby stores. Saying a hearty “Hello!” to all of the shoppers and being such a cute little Christmas dolly. The minutes crept on, and my husband had to leave for an appointment. We of course did not anticipate the incredibly long line up. So I grabbed up my little Christmas minion and we said goodbye to daddy and stood silently in line. She was such a good sport considering the line has been moving slowly for over an hour by this point. The moment of truth was almost upon us, it was almost our turn to go visit the big man himself! My daughter was staring at him and I could see the twinkle in her eyes, she was excited. I could feel it.
When the person in front of us completed their perfectly executed Santa picture I told my daughter “ok baby it’s our turn to go visit Santa!” and she put the death grip to me. She suddenly realized that she would actually have to sit on his lap! Well, the perfect little Christmas angel melted away in a heartbeat and was replaced with a screaming child who hated everything about Santa and Christmas. The look of outrage on her face was enough to tell me that she was very disappointed with the outcome of the long wait in line, and at that moment so was I. With a heaving sigh I “rescued” her from the loving arms of dear old Santa Claus and reassured her that all was not lost, that there was still happiness left in the world.
We go over to take a look at our pictures, see how they turned out and if they expertly captured the tears. So much time in line, the perfect outfit, the perfect child (ha) and what are we left with? A screaming masterpiece of Christmas 2016! After I saw the picture I couldn’t help myself, I started laughing, and loudly. Meanwhile my daughter still sobbing in my arms. The nice young elf told me I didn’t have to purchase the pictures if I didn’t want to, but I was totally on board. Now I had the right of passage picture that every child needs! The screaming of bloody murder on Father Christmas’ lap. The first picture in her future wedding slide show. A reminder that children are not perfect little teddy bears that will smile on command and be happy in the arms of total strangers just because we want them to be. I call this a successful visit to see Santa, and can only imagine what next year’s will look like.