Decorating the tree. Drinking egg nog. Exchanging cookies. Wrapping presents. Belting out “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” A trip to the local mall to see Santa. These are all things that mean Christmas to me.
It was unfortunate that D doesn’t share my enthusiasm for these things.
We took him to see Santa last year. Being that he was only three months, he didn’t seem to mind the big man in red giving him a snuggle for a photo.
This year was a gong show. We lined up and only waited about 25 minutes. D enjoyed saying hello to the furry (mechanical and jerkily moving) rabbits and reindeer set up on display while waiting his turn.
Then came the moment of truth. Jason put him down so he could walk the five feet to Santa but Santas helpers were impatient and requested he pick him up and pass him to Santa. D broke down into a fit of rage and they snapped a photo without trying to distract him with a jingling toy or flashing light and with my shoulder in the corner. Santa put D down on the ground and he was a bit shell shocked so Santa tried to give him a nudge towards me but knocked him over.
Yup. Santa pushed my kid.
They offered for us to sit with him but being that I had a grubby sweater on and wasn’t sure if I had even brushed my hair that morning, I would rather have come back another time. My husband sat with him and the two of them got a photo. If only my photoshop skills were better I could sneak myself in there and it could look like a family photo, as opposed to a “Btw, we’re getting divorced” picture. The whole atmosphere was rushed and stressed, which I find my son is sensitive to and picks up and mirrors.
In the end, my husband wrote to management about our experience and they offered us a retake with a more expensive photo package and skipping the line. I didn’t want to be *that* person who staff knows complained and they feel they have to bend over backwards or else I’m going to complain again. But I also wanted a better Santa photo. I didn’t care that he was crying in the photo (hey, who doesn’t have a photo like that?) but I wanted one without my shoulder and without just one parent. Maybe I’m just too picky.
We went back today. Santa was definitely in a better mood but his helpers were still lacking the holiday spirit. The email stated I should ask for a specific person when we arrived. I asked one of the helpers and got a simple “No, she’s not working today” as she turned back to her co-worker to continue chatting. The person that I was supposed to talk to wasn’t working so there was some confusion as to who I was or why I wasn’t lining up to see Santa. But after twenty minutes, things were figured out and D was excited and pointing at Santa.
Then Santa patted his knee to invite D over. And D lost it…
In the end, we got our complimentary package. And probably coal in our stockings for the next decade.
Have you ended up with Santa photo fails this year or in the past?
Do you have a favourite location for Santa shoots?