Isaac was four months old on his first Christmas. As soon as December settled on us that year, I bundled my baby up in his fancy Christmas overalls and went off in search of the perfect picture of him with Santa.
As I neared the mall Santa, who looked like a good version of the man in red and was surrounded by a festive backdrop, images of a photo of my little boy smiling up at Santa captured on film for an eternity filled my mind.
Then I read the placard with the prices of such a picture. Thinking such a price must be for some large collection of pictures with Santa, I asked the friendly elf/photographer/college student how much a simple photo with Santa would cost.
I had to pick my mommy jaw off the floor when I heard the price.
That year, I passed on a photo with Santa. At the time, I thought my $15 could be put to better use. Sometime before the next Christmas rolled around, I saw an episode of Paula Deen's show on Food Network. She talked about how every Christmas she puts out pictures of her boys with Santa that were taken during their childhood. She had pictures from every year they visited Santa. I was immediately inspired by her idea and decided that I too wanted to be able to display pictures of my children with Santa through the years.
I also decided I wanted these pictures to be similar, meaning I wanted them all to be of the expensive, mall Santa variety and not taken with my own camera. All though I think charging any more than $5 for a quick pic with Santa is ridiculous, I have put such thoughts aside and have taken the children to see Santa every year since.
This year was no exception. Friday I pulled out the red attire and drove the family station wagon to the local mall for pictures with Santa. During our drive, the children and I discussed what one does when one visits with Santa. We talked about how friendly Santa is and how we should be polite as well. The kids had colored pictures for Santa, which they were eager to give to him. We waved at Santa from afar before approaching him for our meet and greet session.
Isaac immediately ran up to Santa and hugged him, proceeding to tell him the only thing he wanted for Christmas this year was a transformer. This was news to me, so I am glad I overheard that portion of the conversation. Evelyn greeted Santa and I gave myself an imaginary pat-on-the-back, congratulating myself on a successful Santa encounter.
Then the friendly elf (who happened to be an actual grown-up with actual kid skills) gently placed Evelyn on Santa's lap.
That, dear reader, is when the loud screaming began and Evelyn flung herself out of Santa's lap. The elf rushed to pick her up, Santa turned a bit gray because he thought he had dropped E. (he had not...she goes "limp noodle" when angry), and I begged the photographer to simply take the picture so we could be done.
After a bit of a pep talk with Evelyn (in which I promised I would sit next to Santa and she could sit in my lap) and a bit of a pep talk with Santa (in which I promised that he did not drop his first customer of the day and there would be no law suit), our picture for Christmas 2009 was made.
(This is not the actual picture...this is one made with my camera. Both children are actually smiling in the actual picture and looking at the camera)
We survived another picture session with Santa. I am not sure he quite survived the experience with us, but hopefully he will return next year so we can greet him once again.
Are you taking your child to visit Santa? Go here and read some tips and tricks about how to make such a visit more enjoyable for the whole family.