Flash forward to this year. Number one item on her Santa list: one cute, loving and playful kitten. Ugh! I have made it clear to her that I do NOT want a kitten. But if Santa brought one to her, there would be nothing I could do about it.
She wrote her letter of declaring her status as being "a good girl this year", therefore, requesting a kitten, knowing full well that it comes with responsibilities and she is ready to take them on. We mailed the letter. The rest is left up to fate, or rather left up to the discretion of those creepy little elves.
This past weekend we went to the mall hoping to get to see the REAL Santa. No Santa's helper for us. A fake beard will not do. It has to be the Big Guy or not at all. It just so happened that we were in luck! He happened to be there. Since the kids were little, it became tradition to go to the Ingleside Mall in Massachusetts to visit Santa Claus there. The Santa there was the real deal. Any time I had a hard time getting into the spirit of the season, that Santa would make me laugh. We would search him out and all of us would instantaneously feel happiness if he was there sitting in his thrown-like chair. He was worth every minute of standing in line. Just like Santa is supposed to do - he brought joy to my kids and I. He had the best sense of humor and would spend time talking with the kids. Heck, after my kids were done, he would pull me onto his lap and we'd talk up a storm. I'd tell him what I wanted (one year it was to have my contractor "taken care of" and his response was, "I have the perfect elf for the job.") He'd always have some snappy or flirtatious answer that would just make me walk away giggling. Then two years ago, things started to change. Mall management was making it more about "get 'em in and get 'em out" and the light in Santa's eyes wasn't the same. Last year we went, and as I feared, he wasn't there. I was truly sad, as if I had lost a friend. I prayed that he didn't get sick. I prefer to think that he just stopped going there because it was no longer the place to be, that the spirit of Christmas was no longer there. He will always be the real Santa to me. I miss him.
This year, we happened to be in Hartford and decided we would try the West Farms Mall. We were quite pleased to see that it wasn't one of Santa's helpers (no angel hair beard). The set was quite an elaborate display. The theme was the movie The Polar Express. While you wait in line, you can look at stations designed from the movie. Kids (and adults, if you're a kid at heart) can pull the train's horn and it actually whistles like a train. There is a real live conductor yelling "All aboard". In one part, they have a huge snow globe that you stand in that has white flecks of something coming from the top, giving the appearance of snow. This was cool. But be warned, you'll be picking the white particles out of your hair for a while. Anyway, all of this is an effort to make the waiting in line to see The Man go by a little quicker and less painful.
We fortunately hit it just right. There wasn't much of a line and we breezed right through. My daughter, without hesitation, sat on the Big Guy's lap. "Smile! Look at the photographer! Without whom we could not talk to Santa! Smile! You must purchase a photo package! Smile! Only $69.95! Smile! Sorry, no using your own camera! Smile!"
Do you remember the days of going to see Santa Claus and it didn't cost a thing? It was a way for the Malls to brings in business. Now it's all commercialized. This is no joke. I once got a ticket for videotaping my daughter after visiting with Santa. They wouldn't let me video tape her while sitting on his lap. So after she was done, I was interviewing her off to the side. I was asking her what she asked Santa for. Out of nowhere, a mall cop came up to me and said, "No Videotaping in the mall, Miss" and handed me a slip of paper. As he walked away and got on the escalator, I waved to him and yelled, "Merry Christmas!" I ask you, what was the harm?
Anyway, back to this year. Once the photos were done, my daughter was allowed to tell Santa her want list. The first item: a kitten for Christmas. I stood behind her to give Santa a nod. But before I could, Santa was telling my daughter that Santa "doesn't bring live pets, because they don't transport well in the sleigh. And besides, they are a huge responsibility." I watched my daughter's face, the smile dashed away. Her body language was such that it was as if someone just punched her in the stomach. Her head bowed into her chest with disappointment and defeat. All the kid wanted for Christmas was a kitten. This was nothing short of "You'll shoot your eye out, kid" from The Christmas Story. I kept trying to get Santa's attention so he could give her a little hope. That wasn't going to happen. We were shuffled off so that the next kid could have his dreams trampled on by Santa. As we walked away, I tried to make the best of it by saying, "Phew, thank goodness Santa doesn't bring live pets. I didn't want a kitten anyway...But if you believe it will happen, if you truly believe, it will come true for you." She smiled and said, "I do believe...Do you think he was just pulling my leg, Mom?" I said, "There was a twinkle in his eye when he was telling you that. But I hope he wasn't kidding. I don't like cleaning kitty litter." She laughed.
I think I would have given Santa a piece of my mind had I not just read a piece on AOL about how Santa has to go to school to get the answers to some of these types of questions that kids ask. [I looked for the link but could no longer find it for reference. Sorry.] When he said that pets don't fly well in the sleigh, I remembered reading that. So I gave Santa a break. But still. He wasn't very perceptive. And, not for nothing, I didn't realize Santa was a southern gentleman with an accent.
I can understand that Santa can't make a promise to a child that he/she will get what they ask for. But certainly there had to be a better answer than that. Had it been any other child, I think her hopes would have been dashed away. Is this what we wait in line to see Santa for? Heck, I could have done that!
If asking for a kitten for Christmas isn't do-able, then what else isn't do-able? I wrote my own Christmas list and it went something like this:
I've been thinking of all the things I've seen on TV lately from watching the Christmas specials, and I've been listening to all the Christmas songs too, and this is what I want for Christmas:
[Note: See if you can name all the references I make in this blog. If you want to see if you got them all, send me your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll check the list. Heck, I might even check it twice. Good luck!]
- I want someone to cook me Roast Beast with a side of razzleberry dressing, oh and bring me some figgy pudding.
- I want a button that I can press when I want to dumpit to crumpit.
- I want snow, SNOW, SNOW.
- I want a cowboy who rides an ostrich. Horses are too big and my yard is too small for a horse. So this would work out great.
- I want a christmas tree that when one ornament is hung on it, it bends over, yet a few kids hands and a blanket can transform it into a beautiful decorated tree. Hark! I just heard a bell. I DO believe.
- I want the Heat Miser to live with me during the winter months and then kick him out and have his brother, the Snow Miser to move in during the summer months. Or is it the other way around?
- I want my heart to grow three times its size, not my butt.
- I want a silent night so we can rest, ye merry gentlemen, and take a long nap somewhere away in a manger. If only that darn ruh puh puh puhmming would stop.
- I want a hippopotamus; a hula hoop; a goomba donkey; and a set of new glasses for near-sighted Grandma so she doesn't get run over.
- Hmm. What else. I already have front teeth so I don't need that.
- As a non-violent person, I want peace for everyone. I don't want to deck anyone (especially the Halls, they're such nice people); I don't want to shoot someone's eye out; I don't want to call anyone a ho, ho, ho.
- I want everyone to be joyful AND trumpet. No that's not it. Triumphant. Yeah, let's all be triumphant this year.
- I want my mother to stop making out with Santa. (Tramp.)
- I would appreciate it if everyone would stop roasting my chestnuts. What kind of liquor is "yournose" that Jack is nipping on? And can I give it to those kids that are finding it hard to sleep? Or is that against the law?
- No offense Santa, but could you please stop staring at me while I'm sleeping. You know when I'm awake. It creeps me out. (Stalker)
- I don't want to run into any ex-lovers in the grocery store or go drinking in the parking lot with them.
- I want you to send calendars to all the boys and girls in Africa so they DO know that it's Christmas time. Seems like a simple enough solution.
- I want more excitement in my life so that lovely pine tree branches aren't the only thing that thrill me.
- I want to get blitzened, then dasher and prancer around, donnering my apron and that's all, like a real vixen. Although all that dashering could make me sick and then I'll end up scrubbing the floor with Comet.
- I want to roll up my green sleeves and go to elf practice and sing "We build Santa's shelves".
- I want the Bergermeister Meisterberger to declare the law of no toys outside of my daughters' room.
- I want a hat that when you put it on certain people's heads, they come alive with glee, especially if they are normally cold and stoic. The hat would turn them into warm, fun-loving people. Pipe optional. Although, maybe it's not the hat at all. Maybe it's what is in the pipe that makes them giddy. Legalization of either hats or corncob pipes. So what if their eyes get dilated like two lumps of coal?
- I want to go a wassailing. I don't know what that is, but it just sounds fun.
- I want a jingle bell rock. My yard is full of rocks, but something about a jingle bell rock appeals to me.
- I want to put one foot in front of the other. I need more exercise.
- I want a voice to answer mine back, but not like one that if I said "I'm an idiot" the voice would answer back "You're an idiot, you're an idiot, you're an idiot."
- I want to see heaven and nature sing...maybe on the next American Idol.
- I want to find a girl named Virginia and say no, just for the heck of it.
- Oh, who am I kidding? All these things and when it comes down to it, all I really want is silver and gold.
I hope this got your brain cells working, and maybe you even got a chuckle over some of them. I hope so.
My Kaneclusion this week is there are people in the world that bring you joy. Embrace those people, because they will not be around forever. If someone makes you laugh, it's the greatest gift they can give you. Cherish it, for it is rare. If you don't believe me, you will know what I mean when they are gone.
I tend to agree with my daughter that Santa was pulling her leg, unfortunately for me. That son of another Santa is going to bring her a freakin' kitten, I just know it. Another 20 years of fleas navidad.
So don't let anyone steal your joy. Not even Santa!