Flashback faves: Santa Quest 2008

One of the joys of having more than two thousand (!) posts in my archive is the delight of stumbling on to an old post and re-reading it again. I’m pretty sure only my mother has read all of them, and if I’ve forgotten the content I’m pretty sure that most of you probably have as well – even those of you who’ve been here since the beginning. Also, recycling is chic, retro is in fashion, and everything old is new again. With all that in mind, I will shamelessly occasionally post some of the old gems from the archives: my flashback faves.

I’m not sure which I love more, the story or the photo. Lookit that chubby baby Lucas!!


It seemed like a simple enough idea at the time. (Doesn’t it always?) Pictures with Santa. We do it every year, and I love my little collection of photos of Santa and the boys through the years. We usually just zip over to our local Loblaws, who just happens to have the most authentic Santa in town AND no line-ups, and we’re in and out in 20 minutes. It was a little more challenging with Tristan in school full time this year, and with no Santa at Loblaws this year, but a PD day last Friday gave us the perfect opportunity. A mom-in-the-know tipped us off to a deal at Carlingwood Mall: free pix with Santa if you buy a $25 gift card. Free? You know I likes me some free, and the kids likes them some Santa. A perfect day’s outing.

We arrived at Carlingwood about an hour before lunch, and headed straight for Santa’s big chair. And that’s where things started to go awry. Santa was a girl. Santa was a shapely girl with long, brown hair. Santa was wearing a crown and wings and a blue taffeta dress. Santa was — horror of horrors — sharing his big velvet chair with the Fairy Princess. WTF???

Memo to Carlingwood management: While I’m sure there are a goodly number of boys who might have been entranced by the Fairy Princess, there are a few — mine included — who were crushed by the weight of their unfulfilled expectations. Set up the Fairy Princess display in July, wouldja, and leave December for His Jollyness.

I gave the boys a choice: stay at Carlingwood for lunch and browsing as planned, and we’ll make a special trip another day to see Santa, or we’ll pack ourselves back into the car and give Santa another try at a different mall. I could read the answer on their faces before I even proposed the choice. Off we went to Bayshore, where Fairy Princesses are not welcome in December.

It’s a quick drive but a long hunt for parking on a PD day in the weeks before Christmas, but eventually we were out of the car and making a beeline for Santa’s workshop. There he was, in all his red jolly splendor, with at least half the population of Ottawa in line to see him. I took one look at the queue, which snaked entirely around Santa’s workshop and doubled back on itself, and convinced the boys that we’d go for lunch first and come back after, hoping against hope that the line would have receded by then.

Forty minutes later, and the line had, in fact, lengthened. We queued up, and I wandered over to the people at the front of the line, looking a little too much like the contestants on Survivor on day 38 — scruffy and malnourished, where you can see a little bit too much of their teeth — and asked one how long they had been standing in line. “Ten minutes short of two hours,” she growled without consulting her watch, and my heart sank.

I stepped back to the boys and tried to convince them that we’d come back another day. “It’s a very, very long line, guys,” I pleaded. “We don’t have to see Santa today. We can come back on Monday after school with Daddy, and we can all wait together. I promise!”

Tristan and Simon looked at each other placidly and said, “Nah, we’re good.” It was by now early afternoon. I knew Lucas would need a nap. The day already seemed endless, before even attempting to wait out this queue. The boys may have had it in them to wait it out, but I wasn’t sure I did. I tried, I really tried, to convince them to leave. Every two minutes for the first half hour or so, I rephrased the suggestion. “We can go to the toy store today! And look at the Webkinz AND the Lego! And even the pet store!!” This was my best shot, but they didn’t even nibble. Each time, I got the same response. “It’s okay Mom, we’re good.”

And you know what? They were. I don’t know whether it was the proximity to Santa that had them on their best behaviour or what, but we waited in that line for NINETY-FIVE minutes. Even Lucas was patient, sitting in his stroller and occasionally in my arms, looking around and watching the people and the decorations without any sort of fuss. We stood in that line for an hour and a half, and there was not one shenanigan, not a single hijinx, not even a shushed threat of Serious Consequence. No begging for bathroom breaks or drinks, and not even a “how much longer?” whine. Well, okay, not from the boys, anyway.

It was worth it, don’t you think?

Santa 2008

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

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