I found myself in the mall at 11:00am today. I was returning items at Macy's. We passed the Christmas display and noticed that poor Santa was all alone waiting for some child's attention.
In the past my children have been even more than hesitant to sit on Santa's lap. My oldest child in his day even went so far as mispronounce Santa's name as 'Satan.' At 3yrs old I am quite certain he wasn't too familiar with that guy dressed in red. We have often fondly referred to Santa as Satan since then. Perhaps there-in lies our problems with Santa/Satan. Big Boy set quite the example for the rest of the kids to follow by screaming bloody murder and refusing to sit on the big guy's lap at the mall. (see photo above-man I was sure skinnier then...sigh!) So I have been wise never to stand in those long lines with hesitant children ever again.
We have cherished video of a breakfast table conversation with our first little Satan Hater back in 1995. "What will you do when you see Santa's gifts on Christmas morning?" I ask. "I will throw them in the trash!" Big Boy says with commitment. Two scenes later he is trying out his new trike and has forgotten his resolve to cast it aside. Classic!
So four kids later here I am with Little Girl at the mall, and there is no line (thus making it a perfect opportunity for me to test the waters without paying a price). We stroll our way to the gate and I start talking to the big guy in red. I put my head down close to Little Girl and ask if she'd like to say hello to Santa too. She looks nervous. I tell her she can let him know what she wants for Christmas. I am sure she will say a Barbie. She instead whispers to me "tell him I want a Barbie..." We start heading through the tunnel to his chair and she gets really anxious. So I back down and tell her we'll just send him a note. As he sees us walking away I explain to Santa that she's feeling shy. He slides a coloring book through the gate to us even though we never made it to his lap. A few minutes later as we make our way to Macy's, Little Girl has something to say to me. I put my head down to hear her better and she looks upset. Holding her book up to me she says "This not a Barbie..." Another childhood disappointment to add to our long standing tradition with hesitancy and general dislike of old St Nick (at least when up close and personal).