We took the kids to see Santa yesterday. Let me just tell you, things have really changed since I was a kid. We used to stand in line, sometimes for a little while, see the man in the red suit, tell him what you wanted for Christmas and then we got a little candy cane or something. No more. Now what you have is called the "Santa Experience."
We arrived at the mall around 9 to make our appointment with Santa. Thats right, no more lines. Now he takes appointments only. And since we arrived not too long after the mall opened, I wasn't expecting a super long wait to see Santa. Wrong again. The next available appointment was at 1:17. Apparently some families arrived at 7 to make their appointment, a full 2 hours before the mall even opened.
So, now we had a few hours to kill before we were announced to see Santa. We spent much of that time in Build a Bear, where the girls each picked out a new outfit for their bears. Grace even had her Papa fixed (he had a hole in his back). The nice bear surgeon even offered to give Papa a new nose since his had been lost long ago, but Grace decided that no nose suited Papa just fine.
We then spent some time getting some shoes for Michael. I made a very valuable discovery when we got him measured. The boy has trailer park feet - as in double wide. This explained why he would NEVER keep shoes on and why it was so hard to find shoes that fit. Once properly fitted he was so happy, he didn't try and take them off once.
By this time, a few Michael meltdown and some lunch later, we were just about ready for our appointment. We headed back to Santa's castle to wait our turn, and I started to realized my kids seemed to be very under dressed. All the kids were dressed in their best clothes - party dresses for the girls and nice sweaters and even ties for the boys. There were even an unfortunate few who has been made to dress up in elf costumes. Seriously.
No matter, we were so excited to finally be announced. Michael was still not exactly thrilled, but the girls eagerly awaited to be introduced to Santa. Once announced, Grace jumped right up on his lap. Annabelle suddenly decided she didn't want to be anywhere near Santa, so we had to settle for her sitting on a reindeer in front of him. Luckily, Michael was so confused he didn't have time to have a fit.
We opted against paying $60 or so for a photo package from the professional photographer that was on hand. I used my own camera and took pictures of my tired, under-dressed and, in Annabelle's case, completely uninterested kids. Add in some vomit and a leaky diaper or two and it would have been almost as fun as the 16 hour car ride to Michigan. This was our Santa experience.