by Aurora Bordeaux
Last week, I wrote about having a childfree Christmas and how I would never miss being a parent around the holidays because I always thought visits to Santa were such a hassle. Then I looked back over my story and thought, “Golly, Aurora, you sound like a certified Grinch.” Not wanting to knock a longtime holiday tradition, I promised to step out into the real world to see if sitting on Santa’s lap was really worth the trouble of long lines, coughing toddlers, agitated parents, and kids screaming bloody murder on the velvet lap of a stranger in red.
I checked online and found a local Santa–a free one–who sat in a shopping park from noon to four on Saturday. Perfect! I then broke the news to the hubs: We were going to see Santa. “Wha?” he blinked. And since I didn’t want to sit on a strange grown man’s lap, we were taking Charminator the Labradoodle to sub in.
Saturday morning, I was surprised to find I was actually pretty excited. Deep in my deepest of secret pitter patter hearts, I thought, “Santa! We’re going to see Santa!”
When we arrived at the velvet rope, we got a lot of looks from the 15 parents standing firmly in line wrestling with their small children. I carried Charminator, who is still learning the leash and would have gone buck wild at the sight of all the Christmas mayhem. Charminator is cute as all hell, but the only ones who commented on this were squealing kids. Parents just seemed exhausted and looked at us like, great, now we have to deal with a dog, too.
We made our way to the back, figuring 15 kids couldn’t take so long to chirp to Santa, right? This was no big deal. It would be manageable and fun. I’d overhear some conversations to blog about, make a few observations, click a photo with Santa and Charminator, and we could go on our merry way and have some bourbon at home.
“What time does Santa start?” asked the hubs, who bless him had the sniffles and trouped out with me anyway. He was right. Santa’s massive throne was there, but it was empty. The people in line were dead silent, all business.
“I don’t know,” I said. “He must be late.” I jostled Charminator the life size teddy bear, who was beginning to fidget and wonder what the dack this was all about. The hubs pointed to a nearby sign emblazoned with a life size photo of a child looking up adoringly at the world’s most perfect Santa Claus.
The hubs then pointed to the itty bitty time at the bottom: We were 45 minutes early. Forty five minutes early, and 15 people were already in line. That meant more, many more, were on their way. The line would get tighter. The number of people who would clamor to pet Charminator was about to skyrocket. The clouds above thickened, and the wall of resolve the hubs had bravely constructed to hold off his cold lost several stones.
I frowned. “Eff this,” I said, turning toward the car (I should have said “Elf this,” but I wasn’t in the mood). Then, “Wait!” It was time for a Christmas miracle after all!
I told the questioning hubs to get out his camera. “But there’s no…” he insisted. I held up Charminator in front of the Santa sign, manually superimposing her over the child. Ah ha! We both exclaimed. The hubs clicked several epic holiday shots of Charminator’s first visit with the jolly king of elves, we took a spin around the shopping park so Charminator could stretch her legs and have a big celebration poop, and we pointed towards home to cozy up with our bourbon.
On our way back to the car, still 10 minutes before Santa arrived, the line had swelled and thickened. More young boys in cordory and tiny girls wrestled into white tights waited, waited, and more parents stood under a sky threatening moisture, also waiting, waiting.
The hubs and I walked to the car hand in hand with our curly bear, glad there was nothing left to wait for.