We didn't plan on getting to visit Santa when we went to a local Christmas decoration supply store, but he was there and the kids were so excited. I thought it would be a great opportunity to let them visit the jolly, old elf in a not-so-chaotic environment. It will go down as one of the most bizarre visits with Santa that we have ever had.
My brother and his family came in for Thanksgiving and they were in front of us in line. My nephew Hayden has a sweet obsession with St. Nick and Bill and Kim thought he would be overjoyed to see the big guy in person. As is common with two-year-olds, he instead had a panic attack and became permanently fused to his mother's side.
Santa began his campaign to prove that he, a complete stranger, knew just how to force Hayden to comply. He told Kim to stand nearby while Carson and Memphis visited with him so that the little guy could see that there was nothing to worry about. Santa told Kim to put Hayden down next to her and hold his hand. Try as she might, Kim could not get Hayden to release his death grip on her, so she just stood where she had been instructed.
Apparently, this was not acceptable to Mr. Claus and he began to say things like, "You're not listening to me," and, "You need to follow instructions," to Kim. She finally had enough of the abuse and walked a little further away where Hayden could watch from a distance. It wasn't far enough away because Santa continued to bark instructions at her until she gave up and took Hayden to see the much less bossy stuffed version of Father Christmas at the back of the store.
By this time, a full five minutes had been wasted and I was beginning to get very irritated myself. Santa had many instructions for me as well and I took lots of deep breaths to maintain my composure.
I have a very nice camera, a style not normally carried by someone who does not know how to capture decent pictures with it. Even so, Mr. Claus felt the need to direct where I should stand to get the best shot. In fact, he was overly concerned with what poses he wanted me to capture. So much so that he did not even ask the kids their names or what they wanted for Christmas.
It made for some pretty cute pictures, but overall I think the kiddos were quite disenfranchised with the whole experience. I've been explaining to them ever since that St. Nick was just cranky because nobody had brought him any cookies. Carson wants to make sure that if we go see him again we take plenty with us. Weird, weird Santa man.