A few days ago, Kate and I went with Jenny and Henry, to see Santa at the mall. Let's just say that we didn't exactly get what we expected.
Jenny called ahead and asked if we could take our own pictures with Santa instead of paying for the ones they provide. The answer was yes.
So we showed up, all full of the Christmas spirit, and excited for another "first" with our little ones - a picture on Santa's lap. Except for some reason the lady at the entry is saying that we can't take our own pictures. "But we called ahead and asked," we protest, "and we were told that we could."
"Oh," the lady says smugly, "well you can take your own pictures. Just so long as you're outside the perimeter of the Santa setup." Oh, perfect. You mean we can take pictures between the fence, the 6-foot-tall presents, and then 30 foot Christmas tree? Excellent. Let me leave my less-than-a-year-old baby girl on a strange man's lap while I run around to the outside and jump to get my 5 foot 2 inch frame above those presents! I'll be right back. Yeah, right.
We were pretty angry, and understandably so. The lady tried to sell us on one of their package deals - the cheapest one was $10 for one photograph with Santa, and we wouldn't even get the copyright. No thank you.
As we walked away, we made ourselves feel better by admitting that he was an "ugly" Santa anyway - honestly, he was - his beard was yellowish and not very long, and he had a very big shiny forehead - and no hat!
So I'm just wondering . . . has property tax gone up in the North Pole? Has reindeer feed gotten more expensive? Are elves charging more per hour? Or is Santa's sleigh just a gas guzzler? Because the Santa I know would let us put our children up on his knee, give them a candy cane, and let us snap one measly picture without charging us ten dollars. But that's just the Santa I knew growing up.
Jenny and I stopped by Krispy Kreme on the way home and ate delicious Peppermint Bark Doughnuts to console ourselves over the Santa failure. It was so good that it somewhat restored my belief in holiday magic.
Maybe next year Kate and I will completely skip the whole visiting Santa thing and just go straight for a Krispy Kreme . . .