We don’t usually make a trip to take the kids to visit Santa. We took Zoey to meet him the year she was born and were appalled at the ridiculously overpriced single photo we got ($40!). It’s cute, but not forty bucks worth of cute.
We swore after that photo that we wouldn’t take the kids to meet Santa until they asked us to. The following year, we were in Leavenworth, WA during Christmastime for a day of seasonal fun. Leavenworth is a town modeled after a Bavarian Village and it goes all out with the Christmas decorations and events. We encountered a Santa strolling the streets and greeting people and stopped for a quick, blurry camera phone photo-op.
The next two years, we didn’t see Santa at all. The girls were too young to understand the whole “Santa” thing or know that they could even request to see him. Last year, however, I was shopping in the mall with the girls and they spotted him. They watched in awe as other children sat on his lap and received candy canes, and then Zoey asked if she could do so as well. I said yes, but made a quick request to the photographer not to take any photos because the bright flash would bother Zoey (and, honestly, I knew if she saw the photo she’d want me to buy it and we just couldn’t afford it). So the girls met Santa then, but we didn’t get any pictures of the event. Seriously, though, that particular Santa wasn’t worth remembering anyway, if you get what I mean.
This year, the girls wanted to meet Santa, but we were still balking at the price tag of most Santa visits around town. Then I saw that a local plant nursery was going to have a weekend event and a free Santa would be present, with the option to take your own pictures. So we packed up the kids and the camera and headed off to see the Man in Red. Zoey and Eleanor had made cards for him the day before, and proudly protected them from the monsoon that was pouring down as we crossed the parking lot.
This Santa had a fake beard and cheap suit, but what he lacked in style he more than made up for in kindness. He sat and read the cards the girls had made him, thanked them sincerely, and asked if he could put the cards in his bag for safe-keeping.
He then gave each of the girls a candy cane and posed for pictures with all three kiddos.
I have a feeling we’re going to be asked to do this every year from now on.