I piled the kids into the minivan to go see Santa. I don’t do hair real well (except pony tails) but I tried. I really did. But my wife took over and made the kids look great. The girls in their little pretty dresses. The 2 year old boy in a cute outfit.

The children were singing Christmas songs even though I didn’t realize until then that they don’t know half the words to even the famous ones. But I was in a good mood. We all were.

My neighbors Christmas lights were up and shining. (Though to be fair, I’m pretty sure they left them up from last year)

I tried to put in a Christmas CD but it wasn’t working. The children explain that it’s not working anymore because my two year old boy had stuffed Chuck E. Cheese tokens in the DVD player and it’s scratching up all the cd’s.


So we go to the mall and sing songs on the way.

Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells. Jingle Hold The Ways!
Oh What Fun it is to Slide down a humble tumble way! Hey!

So we get to the mall. Right away, the kids want to see Santa. No comic book store. No pretzels. Nothing. They’re on a mission. So we go walk right up to the big fireplace in the middle of the mall and…get this, Saint Nicholas was on the cell phone when we walked up. And he wasn’t just hurriedly receiving a call. He was really yacking it up. And there’s kids all over the place. I actually stood in front of my children blocking their view of Santa and then I sat them down on the bench while I paid to get the picture taken.

“Who’s he talking to? My five year old asked.

I answered quite smartly. “I think he’s calling the North Pole to see if you were good or bad this year.”

I was proud of myself. Unfortunately, my kids had a rejoinder. “But doesn’t he know already?” asked the four year old.

Then my eight year old girl chimed in and proffered that this was perhaps not the real Santa but a helper who had to phone in for advice. My five year old looked confused.

This is the kind of comment which disturbs me so much. So short is the time of innocence and magic. Thinking that the mall Santa isn’t the real one isn’t that far away from questioning the whole thing. I will be a sad man the day my oldest stops believing in Santa.

So now I’m in a bit of a huff so I walked up near Santa and said to him, “Dude” in my best complaining face.

He said “Hold on a second” into the phone. He then raised his arms silently as if to say, “What on earth could be the problem?”

“Dude.” I repeated. I thought it was pretty self-explanatory.

Santa rolled his eyes. He actually rolled his eyes before finally hanging up the phone. I looked around for a friend and found one in the form of a sixteen year old female elf who was getting ready to take the picture. She shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes at Santa.

“It’s not like I’m asking the guy to go A-Wassailing? I just don’t think he should be on the phone, you know,” I said. I thought the line was clever but she seemed unamused and I’m pretty sure she thought I was a foreigner.

And then the kids go up to Santa. There was no ho-ho or nothing. He launches right in in this Department of Motor Vehicles monotone, “Do you listen to your parents, do you eat your vegetables?”

I noticed my eight year old was clever enough to stay silent during this last question as I can’t get a vegetable down her throat with a shoehorn. Whether he was Santa or just a helper at a mall, she knew enough to lay low during that question.

Then Santa asked, “So what do you want?”

I’m not kidding. “So what do you want?”

The kids had a list of things and they all talked at once but it didn’t matter because Santa wasn’t paying attention anyway. He was mouthing something to his elf. The picture came out great anyway and the kids were all happy.

My boy blew out the Advent candle and sang happy birthday to himself. We all laughed. He didn’t get the joke but he went around for the next twenty minutes blowing on everything and looking for a laugh -which made everyone laugh louder.

All in all, a good day. But I’m still mad at Santa. Merry Christmas.