The Year of the “Creepy Plastic Santa Photo”

Hey kids! Let’s take the commuter train to Seattle to get your pictures taken with Santa!” I said, thinking I was the coolest mom ever and scoring big brownie points with my kids for taking them on their first “train” ride.  I had visions of their “oooing and ahhhing” in wonder as we peered out the window over the snow covered scenery on our quest to find Santa. We were going to make a day out of it; a fun train ride, lunch, a carousel ride, and Santa photos!  It would be perfect.

Awwwwwwwwww mom! Do we have to go!” protested my son. “Hurray-we get to see Santa and tell him what we want for Christmas!” was my daughter’s gleeful reply. “Oh great!” I thought-”we haven’t even stepped foot out the door and I am already set up to fail-can’t please them both.” One child wants to stay and the other wants to go.  My daughter won out-because secretly-going to see Santa was just as fun for me! My son, on the other hand, sat in the back seat and grumbled.

Undaunted-I pulled into the commuter train parking lot and began circling for a parking spot …and circling…and circling….because “By golly, we were going to ride that train!” I quickly learned that I wasn’t the only mom that had the “Oh goody, let’s ride the train today!” idea. Cars were lurking around every corner waiting….lurking…& waiting. After 30 minutes of waiting for a parking spot, I had had it. “That’s it! I am not wasting anymore time looking for a parking spot-we’re driving instead!” I did not hear one peep from the back seat. Our quest for Santa continued.

We finally arrived and paid a 2nd mortgage for a downtown parking spot and began walking to the famed “Nordstrom Santa.” To my horror, the line wrapped all the way around the block. “Duh Christi! What do you expect!” said my inner mom.  ”Don’t worry kids, the line will move quickly.” We took our place in line and there we were, lost in a sea of primping parents and fussy kids. “Mom?” my daughter whispers, “I have to go to the bathroom.ARRRGH!

We pulled out of line, now the quest for a bathroom trumped Santa photos.  After her business, we got back in line-at the end of it.  ”Mom-I’m hungry.” “Mom-how long do we have to wait?” “Mom-I’m bored.” “Mom-I want to go home!”  I took a deep breath and swallowed hard-”Hold it together Christi” I thought as I was figuring out what to say back to my kiddos, trying not to unleash my “psycho mom” for all in line to witness.

Overhearing my children whining, a dad passing by took pity on me…”Ma’am, there isn’t a line at Macy’s right now, why don’t you go there to get your Santa photo?” Taking hold of my kids’ hands, we scooted across the street. Game on! Our quest for Santa continued.

No line indeed! Ugh, of course there was a line when we arrived, perhaps only 75 people instead of 250! I was determined. I convinced my kids to wait. And we waited…and waited…and waited.   FINALLY we got to the front of the line and Santa’s “Elf” pulled the rope across to section off the photo area. “Santa has to go to lunch now, he will be back in one hour.” ARRRRRRGH!!!!!! That was the final straw-I was done with this quest to find the perfect Santa and photo stage. A stupid photo wasn’t worth it!! “That’s it, we are going home!

With my kids in tow, we headed back to the car. My grandiose plans of having a lovely day with my kids, doing “christmassy” things were foiled. Total defeat! My son was glad to be going home and my daughter was crying to be leaving without seeing Santa. I guess they were even.

Just as I was trying to think of what to say before my head exploded, I saw him. From the corner of my eye, as we passed the candy store, there he was in all of his glory. Santa Claus…WITH NO LINE!!

Quick kids! Stand next to Santa so I can take your picture with him.”  ”But he is a fake mom!” protested my son. My daughter just stared at him with wide eyes, not daring to take another step forward. “It’s okay kids, it will only take a second, go stand next to him.” “But he is a creepy plastic Santa Claus!” my son shouted.

Yes, indeed, he was a life size Santa Claus-made entirely out of plastic. I was thrilled! He was perfect. No line!

The year of the creepy plastic Santa photo!

Come on kids,” I goaded-”He looks so real, no one will be able to tell in the picture that he is made out of plastic! Well, not really….” My kids were mortified, but bless their little hearts, they posed with the creepy plastic Santa Claus anyway. Victory for mom! The quest was a success!

Two Christmases have since passed and we still laugh when I display the “Creepy Plastic Santa Claus” photo next to the advent calendar. Looking at that photo and fondly sharing the memory together, we all agree that the “Year of the Creepy Plastic Santa Photo,” turned out to be perhaps the most fun and memorable Santa photo of all.