Encounters of the Santa Kind

The kids and I went to the mall yesterday. Visits to the mall this year may total in the high once range. And that once was a quick in and out, on my own. So it was pretty exciting to Norah to go into a “store” that big. She was quite taken with these “people.”


As you can see, Norah makes friends quickly. And apparently felt rather fashionably pose-able herself.

After a very unsuccessful jeans shopping endeavor (what was I thinking?), but successful kids clothing purchase, we were off to see Santa. This would be their first-ever encounter with the jolly old fellow. I had wanted to do it as a family, but Mr. H’s only available day would be Saturday, which would be a nightmarish day at the mall. Mr. H told us to just go ahead.

Norah, having watched the movie Elf multiple times, was rather concerned if the Santa in the mall was going to be the real Santa. I don’t know if she had plans to attack him like Buddy the Elf, but thankfully, the Santa in our mall looked pretty legit to her.

Initially, she was excited to see him.


Then, as she put it, got really “nervous.”


So I suggested, that we would just peek at Santa.



We were feeling better about it, so we moved in a little closer.



Santa had been doing his part in trying to melt the proverbial ice by waving at us, so I thought we were probably ready for our meet and greet.

Sorry, I do not have any pictures of Santa, as it was posted very plainly that usage of personal cameras was not allowed. This was so they could charge $30-$80 bucks for a picture of your child with Santa taken with their camera. So unfortunately, I have no evidence for what happened next.

Lucky for us, Tuesday morning at 11:30 is a good time to see Santa as there was basically no wait. Just one little girl about 2-3 years old sitting pleasantly on his lap, smiling for the camera. I asked the lady who was working at the entrance if the kids could see Santa without the whole picture cost thing. Yes, they could. So we moved in on Santa with Norah hiding behind me, clinging to me, and Garrett just chilling in his stroller. I asked Norah if she could tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas. Nope. She whispered to me, “Tell him I want a dollhouse.” So I passed that bit of info off to Santa, but I wanted to add cleverly, “Don’t worry about that, big guy, we’ve got that taken care of already.” Thankfully I refrained.

So then I think, well, I know Norah’s not going to want to sit on Santa’s lap, but maybe Garrett would like to. Foolish me. I asked him, and he said his usual “uh” which means yes, followed by an affirmative nod of his head. So I unbuckled him from his stroller, started to lift him in his big puffy coat out of the stroller when – Bam! The stroller fell over backwards, pulled down by the weight of coats and a couple of shopping bags. Poor planning. Okay – I thought –  I can fix that in a minute – let me just get Garrett on Santa’s lap. But, no, that didn’t go well either. Garrett had the natural response of a clingy child handed to a white bearded stranger wearing a bright red suit and hat – he started crying and screaming. Thankfully Santa understood the dilemma and withdrew his outstretched arms. Garrett, clinging to me, sounding like a siren, looked at me with tears streaming down his face and a look that said, “What in the world were you thinking, Mom, that’s a STRANGER!”

So now I’m trying to get the flimsy little umbrella stroller upright while holding Garrett who’s bawling, and Norah is even more tightly glued to my leg. And this is where it gets really embarrassing.

Santa helped me.

Yep. That jolly old fellow, rose from his festooned throne, bent low and held one of the front wheels down so I could put Garrett in the seat and balance everything again. Amazing. But where in the North Pole were the elves? Some helpers they turned out to be.

I’m pretty sure I believe in Santa now.

With everything put right again, my greedy children gladly received the free coloring books Santa offered them, although they were still too frightened to utter a word of gratitude. I said the appropriate thank you’s, and we hightailed it out of there. I am so thankful there wasn’t a whole line of people watching all of that go down.

Although I was full of shame and humiliation, we headed to McDonald’s for lunch as we had more shopping to do afterward. Norah noticed this sign:


She told me emphatically that dogs were not allowed in McDonald’s and she was pretty sure that shirts were okay, but she couldn’t understand why toes weren’t allowed. She asked me what I thought that meant, I teased her a bit, then explained it just meant you couldn’t come in barefoot, shoes were a must. That last one was a complete mystery to her. So I just told her that people weren’t allowed to smoke in McDonald’s. Afterward, I realized she had no clue what smoking even meant. I don’t know if she’s even seen anyone smoking. A lesson for another day. She did ask me why though. So I said, “Well, it wouldn’t be healthy for everyone if someone smoked in here…” That’s when I started laughing. Yeah, it wouldn’t be healthy for someone to smoke in here where every one is eating FAST FOOD!

It was a good day. But I was very happy to get home. We don’t get out often. We like it at home. It’s much safer.



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