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On Monday, Grandma (my Mom) & I took R to meet the jolly fat man in the red suit. I had honestly gone back and forth about trying to take him or not. First, I wanted it to be good Santa if I was going to go through the trouble of the whole thing. NO FAKE BEARDS! I actually googled Pictures with Santa, or something like that, to try and see if there were parents talking about the good places to go. To my surprise, well, at first, not so much info out there. Eventually I found an oldish post here, of course, and there were some good ideas. So we headed to Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza. The Broadway Plaza is a an upscale outdoor shopping area with lots of big name brand stores with posh ones mixed in, so, of course, they would have a nice Santa.

Second, and I’m being totally honest with you internet, I was kinda cheaping out and didn’t want to pay lots of money for a silly picture with Santa. I mean, seriously, how do places justifying charging people so much money for a picture of Santa? It is after-all Christmas. (Oh wait, Christmas is pretty much all about spending too much!)

Third, was R just going to hate Santa? Were we going to spend time driving to Walnut Creek, dealing with the crazy, mad house parking situation that is Christmas time at a hugely popular shopping area just to have him scream and cry and not get a cute picture. (and, yes, I know, crying kids in Santa pictures is actually very cute, & funny)

Well, the list could go on but I’ll just get to the point!

I thought Monday in the early afternoon would be a great time to go. Whoops, I forgot that Monday was the first day of winter break. This was actually prime time to take a kid to see Mr. Claus. So, we walk up to Santa’s house and A) there was a line and B) it started to rain and the line was outside. Not the biggest deal. I was secretly hoping that maybe the parents in front of us would be too afraid their kids might melt in the rain and high tail it for a higher and dryer place. Uh, no such luck.

Ah, so the line! This is where it gets good. Let me tell you, even in upper class Walnut Creek, you meet all sorts of peeps. (I know, there are all sorts of crazies everywhere! & if nothing brings them out otherwise, the holidays sure will!) 2 people in front of us was a little girl, maybe about 4. She will be known as “the Brat”. (I know, I’m mean. And yes, I also know that in approximately 3.5 years I might have “the Brat” in line with me. But for now, my little 4 1/2 month old is a pure angel and I’m just going to revel in that…) When we first got there she was removing flowers from Santa’s house’s window boxes. Running around and splat, fell. I did feel bad for her, no one likes to see a wee one take a spill on cement, & in public no less. A few cries from her and she was fine. It was a minor spill, after-all. (Instant karma?! Bad, I know…) This little girl was testing her boundries. Her mom kept telling her not to do this and not to do that. She got tantrumy about not getting to hold the baby in line in front of them. (The baby was probably all of 1 month old. & a stranger.) Later she did it about R too. Her mom was counting down left and right and after several of those, and a few melt downs they were outta there. No Santa for you today missy. And I secretly smiled as they walked away.

Meanwhile, the line had not moved since we got there. At. All.

The lady in front of us was seemed nice. Her daughter was cute. Much quieter than “the Brat” and she seemed perfectly well mannered and sweet, & she was. My Mom started to chat with her mom and as my Mom starts going on about how cool it is to be a grandma and this and that, somehow age comes up. And, I’ll admit, after working for several years in the skin care biz I’m getting pretty good about having an idea about age. (well, ok, not great but better than I used to be.) Silently I was kicking my Mom under the imaginary table, “Shut up. Don’t go there.” She didn’t get it, obviously, and then next thing we know we find out this mom of the (almost) 4 year old is only 8 years younger than my mom! (& her story was the same as lots of peeps; collage, career, then was ready but no man, etc. etc… I  understand we all live different lifes and take different paths but like she said, she doubts she’ll even get to meet her future grandkids and I think that is just sad… I can also say that I am quite glad that I don’t have a 4 year old sibling!)

Meanwhile, so things were going s l o w l y in line for us.

Finally we get close to Santa’s front door. On the sign next by the door they have a note handwritten that they are out of USB ports, which this being the 21st century is actually a pretty cool. But that’s when all hell broke loose. “Old Mama” in front us just started flipping out. “She drove all the way down here,” & blah blah blah. She doesn’t want to pay the same price if she’s not getting her USB, she wants to speak to a manager, “this is ridiculous.” I’ll save you all the whole, entire long drawn out drama of “old mama” (I know, again, I am horrible!) and conclude with this: Santa, yes, THE Santa Claus got up and came over and tried to calm “old mama” down. So you know it’s gone from bad to worse when Santa has to come and mediate. And honestly overheard, “I’m just the Santa but …” Ugh, I just couldn’t believe that all this craziness was going down with the seemingly nice lady. Just put your cute little girl on Santa’s lap, have her smile, take a picture and shut up. I mean, seriously lady, it’s Christmas, don’t be so cheap and have some respect. She had mentioned while chatting about “what could be taking so long?” Umm, people like you are holding up the line. People like you are making this a stressful situation.  Ugh!

Well, this is a lot of negativeness on my part I suppose. So, I guess I’m no better… But there were some seriously cute kids in line. Well behaved kids, whom hopefully Santa brought them exactly what they asked for. Kids who probably looked freakin ridiculously cute posed with Mr. Claus. The Santa Claus and I had a little chat while the staff was trying to finish putting out the fire that “old mama” had started. He said exactly what I had been thinking, which was, it’s Christmas time. This is not what the season is about. This is not what taking a picture with Santa should be. After a few more minutes I got out of Santa’s chair and let the real magic happen.

We ended up getting a few great shots. And while I was unsure if the trip to Santa would be worth it, it most certainly was. This is, after-all, R’s first Christmas. His only first Christmas and I  sure am glad he got to meet Santa. I know that this is just the first year of many of … The Santa Claus Experience.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!

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