Thursday, December 08, 2011

our first santa experience

Growing up I never went to see Santa.  

I know, I sounds terrible.  

But it's not, because.....

Santa always came and saw us at our house!!!

{my 2nd Christmas}
My parents had a friend that dressed up like Santa and he would come to our house every Christmas.  We would have no idea that he was coming and all of the sudden we would hear jingle bells and a loud Ho! Ho! Ho! in our front yard.  Not only did Santa come, but Mrs. Clause came too!  They were SO real to us.  We loved them. We got to sit in our own chair at our house and tell Santa want we wanted.  We got to spend all the time we wanted with him and my Mom and Dad could take as many pictures as they wanted.  Santa even brought his toy bag and had it filled with Tootsie Pops.  We got to pick one out before he left.  I always remember when Santa came it just felt so magical.  So when it was time to think about taking Pearson to see Santa, I didn't really know what to do or where to go.
 I really wanted it to be a family experience, but after we missed the first two Saturdays I realized it was probably going to be easier to just go without Matt on a weekday.  I was originally going to take him to the mall in Fairview because I had heard great things about the Santa there.  I loved that there was a virtual line you could wait in and they text you when it's almost your turn.  The down side was that you couldn't take your own pictures.  I really didn't want to have to pay the $15 to get one stinkin' picture with Santa.  
My sister-in-law, was taking her kids to see Santa at Northpark yesterday, so I decided to just tag along, and I'm so glad I did.  
Here's my 2 cents {or 7 cents} of advice on going to see Santa.....

1.  If you are a stay at home mom, go on a weekday, before big kids get out of school.  It was pretty busy yesterday, so I can't imagine what it would be like on a Saturday or Sunday. 
 2.  Be prepared to wait. Thankfully they have a pretty good system at Northpark, but you still have to spin your wheels for about 2 hrs.  You can start getting tickets at 9am, but Santa doesn't start taking pictures until 11am.  I got there at 9:35 and got ticket number 53.  They said we would see Santa at around 12:30 or 12:45.  So whether you get their early to get a ticket or come in the middle of the day, you are going to have to wait.
 3.  Have a plan for while you wait. You can obviously shop while you wait.  You could go eat breakfast, run errands around the mall, take your kids to the trains, go to Santa's story time, etc.  We completely left the mall and went and took Daddy lunch!!  I think this will definitely be our annual tradition, because we are so close to his office when we go to Northpark!
 4.  Go with somebody.  If your husband can't go with you, find a grandma, friend, sister, or sister in law to go with you.  We found it very helpful to have one person handing the baby to Santa and one person clicking away with the camera.  Santa doesn't really take any time to talk to the babies so it's fast and furious trying to get their picture.  At one point I was still clicking away, and Santa said, "Okay, someone come get this baby!!" Ha!!
5.  Pack their clothes. If your child is like mine, they always poop or spit up when they are all dressed and ready to go!! I put Pearson in some Christmas clothes for the day, but packed his "Santa outift" to change into right before the picture.  If something happened in his "Santa outfit" he could have still worn his original clothes because they were Christmas-y too!
6.  Take lots of pictures. Just click away and get as many of those cute little expressions as you can.  I'm glad I had my camera and I'm glad I got lots of out takes!!
7.  Give in a buy one of the professional pictures!! {see picture above}I said I wasn't going to buy one because they were $15.95 plus tax just for one measly old 5x7, but their picture was SO much better than mine.  Their priority is not for you to get a picture of your child with Santa.  They want to get the best picture so you feel like you have to buy.  The photographer stands right in the way of you taking pictures and Santa is always looking at the photographer.  Kids are always going to look at the photographer with the fun toys and the big flash, so the photographer always get the better pictures.  I think they also make sure they get atleast one good one.  I'm glad I bought it.  I still take my camera every year to catch the out takes, but I think I'll just plan on forkin' over $15.95 for the professional picture each year.

And on a side note......
I know that Santa is not the reason that we celebrate Christmas, but we are going to do Santa at our house.  It definitely won't be our focus and if Pearson ever questions if he is real or not, I'm not going to go out of my way to keep him believing.  I think Santa is a fun little tradition to do while you children are young, but Jesus' birth will be our focus and reason we celebrate the season.  I'm looking forward to Christmas' in the future where I can really do lots of Advent activites with Pearson.


The Stikos said...

Thanks for this post Katie!! I've had quite a few people lately ask if we're planning on "doing Santa" with Amoriyah. Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. It's just for fun!! As long as we teach her from the very start what Christmas is all about and why we celebrate, I think its totally fine. I mean, Santa isn't the only thing kids have that's fictional; Dora, Strawberry Shortcake and the list goes on. And, just for future reference, if you have one close to you, you can get a FREE Santa picture at Bass Pro!

Brandi Gail said...

I think the pics are cute! Poor Olivia..:) I always saw Santa as a kid, and really loved it! :) Of course I started asking "how can there be ALL those Santas at the malls when there is only 1 Santa?"...Response from my Dad "they are his elves dressed up to help him out!!!!!!" I believed it too! :)

Lacy said...

Great pictures with Santa..

15.95 isn't bad I paid 35 dollars last year I almost fainted.. It was just at the Parks Mall too..

Carissa said...

I will keep that in mind for next year when I go to visit Santa with our little one.

My parents were the same way about Santa, and I never had any problems. Jesus was the real reason for season and I always new that. We will probably do the same thing with our children.