Santa’s New Stop

We went to see Santa at a local bar/restaurant that throws a pretty cool event benefiting Toys for Tots. Two December Saturday mornings, they set aside the entire restaurant side of things for a big breakfast Santa party. Your admission: a toy and/or food shelf donation. You make a reservation and get a number when you arrive. Then you help yourself to pancakes and enjoy some hot chocolate or coffee or whatever while you wait for them to call your number. It’s a pretty painless processes. For parents, at least. The overabundance of kids, $0 tabs and parents hell-bent on cheery photo ops must make it a day those poor servers dread all year.

We’ve seen Santa this way each of Roy’s two Christmases. Both times, the kid stayed shockingly calm in the clutches of a massive bearded stranger in a wacky, fluffy getup. Who, by the way, is spot on, with his a god-given white beard, convincing physique and an inherited red-and-white getup from the 40s. This year, after we got our photos and Roy’s sufficiently sussed the guy out, we asked him what he asked Santa for. Because that’s what you ask a kid right then, right? “Choo-choo, puzzle,” he said. OK then.

I hadn’t really planned on jumping into the whole Santa thing this year. I figured this would be similar to last year, where he sat on the lap, we got the cute photo, and then he was more or less happy enough with playing with others’ wrapping paper on Christmas Day. But Roy hasn’t forgotten, and his requests have not changed. When others ask him what he wants from Santa, he promptly responds, “Choo-choo, puzzle.” Or he’ll pipe up in the back seat on the way to daycare, “Santa. Choo-choo puzzle.” Just this afternoon, after over an hour of babbling in his crib instead of napping, I peeked in and asked him why he wasn’t sleeping. He said simply, “Santa. Two Days.”

Apparently, the to-do starts this year. Our present shopping list has been adjusted. A stocking has been hung. We plan on leaving out the milk and the cookies. Although he’s old enough to get the concept of asking a stranger for presents and subsequently getting them, he’s apparently (and unfortunately) too young to understand the concept of “be nice or Santa won’t bring you those damn presents.” My attempts at boiling this down to something he might understand have not achieved the desired behavior and have only resulted in him wandering around forlornly for an hour or so saying, “Santa sad.” I guess the bribery will have to wait until next year.

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  1. by Betsy

    On December 24, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Oh just wait until he’s 4, he’ll get it for sure! For example: Alice spent a morning playing Barbies with her big (like college junior big) cousins while I did some shopping this week. It was nap time and clearly Alice was ready for that nap, as she was avoiding leaving in any possible way. A cousin reminded her that Santa was watching (the first she’d heard this reminder so far for the season) and Alice flew up to me, threw her arms around my neck, said “I love you, Mommy! I haven’t seen you for so long!” and proceeded to shower me with kisses. The rest of us were wiping away the tears … of laughter.

  2. by Berit Thorkelson

    On December 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I will use this bargaining tool to its fullest potential. Merry Christmas, Betsy!

  3. by Eve

    On December 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I loved this post. So great. We didn’t experience any of the Santa-mania this year. We did experience a very confused boy. On Christmas afternoon Milo handed me a musical Santa, given to him by his Grandmother, saying, “Baby Jesus?” He also threw out a “bible!” shortly after that and then evened it out with the swear word he has embraced with appropriate vigor.

    Happy New Year!

  4. by katie d.

    On January 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I didn’t see this before I saw you…this just made me laugh so hard. “Santa sad…” That is one AWESOME Santa-and-Roy photo!!