Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ho Ho... Huh. (Part One)

Holiday season is funny.  We warm our hearts with thoughts of family, gifts, the fireplace, cookies, carols... and those things truly are wonderful.  But then there is the side of the holidays we voluntarily put out of our minds - stress, crowds, drama, getting the kids to sit for photos.  It's ok, we don't mind all of that, because all the fun stuff goes along with it, and often the craziness culminates in warm and wonderful celebrations.

This year, I have had my share of odd holiday experiences.  Let's begin with The Mall Santa.
That is not an actual picture of our Mall Santa, but I'm not going to post the actual picture of my girls with our Mall Santa, because I'm pretty sure it would end up on Awkward Family Photos.  Sorry, you'll have to use your imagination, but follow me on our Journey of Santa Fun.

I took the girls to see MS on a Thursday night after dinner.  Handsome Hubs had to work that night, so I figured MS would provide instant child entertainment (not to mention it's a holiday necessity), and you can't really beat the weeknight crowd.  So the girls decided that they wanted to change out of their school clothes and into their Christmas dresses... I was cool with that, so we dressed and were on our way.
(Tootsie Roll and Curly Jones in their actual Christmas dresses, to help you with your visual)

The mall was crowded, but not horrible, and we ran into a few people we hadn't seen in a while, so that was a pleasant bonus.  (It's always nice to run into people you haven't seen in a while when your kids look really cute.  It's like... Hi!  How are you?  I'm doing great.  Yes, we are all doing wonderfully, as you can see, in our perfectly matching holiday finery.  Of course we always look like this!)

We got to Santa's Workshop in the middle of the mall, and there were maybe four families in front of us.  No problem, my kids whiled the time away marveling at the moving animals in the display and playing with the other kids in line.  At one point, TR, whose third grade sensibilities are leading her to start questioning whether or not Santa is real, narrowed her eyes in Mall Santa's direction and whispered to me, "I don't think that guy is the real Santa, Mom.  Every time a picture is done, he stops smiling."
This was true.  But I reminded her it was late, and he was probably here all day, and yes, he probably was just a Santa's Helper.  I think all the sneezing, the actual red nose, and the gigantor bottle of hand sanitizer beside him probably spoke to the kind of day he was having.

So we waited, and when there was only one little two year old boy ahead of us, Santa gestured to the photographer and she held up her hand toward the line.  With one finger, she beckoned a lady standing with her son on the other side of the picture area (where you pick up your pictures).  I thought maybe there was a problem with her picture, but then... then I saw it.  A colorful sign that read FAST PASS.  The woman sauntered over to Santa, placed her very unwilling child on his lap, and proceeded to bark all sorts of commands at the photographer, her son, and Santa.  The woman standing in line in front of me with the little boy turned and said, "Did that just happen?"

I have to say, I have never seen a Fast Pass at a Mall Santa before.  Disney World, where you stand in line for two hours for a five minute ride?  Sure. (I will point out that we did not have Fast Passes at Disney.  But I understand it.)  But a Mall Santa?  Really?  When the wait was only 15 minutes anyway?  Well... it was very nice to see such lessons in patience, waiting your turn, Christmas spirit, stopping to smell the gingerbread, and... oh, yes... money can get you anything.  That kid doesn't even need presents now, I think he's pretty set.

When it was our turn, Santa lifted Curly Jones onto his left knee, but would not let Tootsie Roll sit on his lap. The kid is eight, skinny as a rail, and weighs 56 pounds.  She's not exactly a tank.  (The poor kid will probably never hit the 8 years/80 pounds to get out of a booster seat in the car law here in NJ).  So instead, Santa pulled her back toward him, and in the picture, she is leaning very stiffly and awkwardly back, arms at her sides, looking like one of those creepy dolls that are supposed to look human.  CJ is looking much the same, very stiff and strange, pulling her hair out to the side.  But they're both smiling.  Awesome. :)

Santa asked CJ what she wanted for Christmas, and she said (after rehearsing all the way over, "an orange baby doll" - don't ask me why orange), "Trains."  Santa was cool with that.  Then he asked TR, and she said, "Books.  I love to read more than anything." (Woot!  That's my girl!)  And Santa was happy with that, too... until she smiled at me and added, "And lots of hugs and kisses."  Santa gave me a look, then said to her, "Well... I can give you a hug... but.... the kisses will have to come from your family because Santa has a cold."  (Cue me trying not to laugh and TR looking embarrassed - clearly she meant from me, not him.)

(Santa.  Kiss.)

So the picture was done, it's weird looking, whatever, I don't mind.  We were good to go.  We went out the other side and stopped at the cashier's table.  The pictures packages were crazy, of course - from Package A at $45 with some pictures, a picture cd (with one picture on it?), etc. to Package F for $20 (two 5x7s and a $10 Shutterfly card).  They asked you which package you wanted on your way in to expedite the process (clearly not enough for Fast Pass people, but I digress), so my paper already had Package E circled.  The 20-ish guy standing at the register took one look at me and said, "Yeah.  You look like... an F."  I blinked.  It took me a minute to process that.... Did he just say I look like I opted for the cheapest package?  Now, I didn't, but even if I did ($20!  Still!), so what???  Does that make me a bad mom?  Trust me, I don't want 85 copies of this particular winner of a photo.  Not only that, I was still dressed from work.  If I had shown up in sweats, would I have looked like I didn't deserve to enter Santa's Workshop?

I just kind of gave him a strange look and signed the credit card slip and he was all, "Yeah.  I hate kids."

No worries, though, folks... I am all about Christmas and was pretty amused at the entire experience.  And it gets better... wait till you hear what happened with our Christmas cards!

Oh yeah!  Don't forget to enter our Flash Fiction contest!  Ends Dec. 15!  PRIZES - books and holiday goodies!  CLICK FOR DETAILS!


Life 101 said...

Probably a good thing you left your mace in the car huh :)

aspiring_x said...

poor, poor tootsie roll- yucky santa hug...
gotta say the santa kiss pic was awesome!
and fast pass? gimme a break. :(

Old Kitty said...

Fast pass for santa? I don't understand this fast pass business?? I'm taking someone pays money to jump the queue? Oh dear!

But yay for your Tootsie Roll and Curly Jones!!! I thought they were perfect with Santa under such circumstances what with Santa having a cold and being a little off and that nasty man selling you pics for silly prices!!!

Your babies are STARS!! Take care

Liz Pezzuto said...

Fast pass for Santa. We've officially hit a new low.

BTW - Your kids look darling in their dresses! :)

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

your mall santa story stresses me out. something about Mall Santas are creepy to me

Abby Minard said...

HAHAHA, the part with the Santa was funny, and I just can't believe the guy who took your money! Geeze, yeah talk about a scrooge. Why did he do the job in the first place? You should post the pic- if itmakes it onto awkward family photos you'll be famous!! Love that site by the way.

Donea Lee said...

Seriously? A kid-hating cashier and a grouchy Santa AND a Fast Pass?? Wow. But, it's a memory, right? :) And if the pic of your cute girls in their Christmas dresses is any indication - definitely not an "F"!

Naomi Ruth said...

Like Falen/Sarah Mall Santas creep me out as well. I will NEVER let my child sit in the lap of a strange man and pay him. Something about that just makes me want to hide. Every time I pass the one in our mall I start going "Why? Why?" and people look at me strange.

BUT... This story was hilarious. I especially loved the hugs and kisses part... Ahahaha.... :)

Anonymous said...

This experience had a lot of bumps, but perhaps it'll turn into great memories with the pictures and it's already an interesting story to pass around.