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Who is this guy? And why is he half asleep?

SantaJust a few days before Christmas, we decided that we would initiate Justine to a venerable, and frankly bizarre holiday ritual, whereby we would take our innocent child to an indoor arena of shops and fountains where an old stranger dressed in a ridiculous red suit and sporting a lengthy white beard would hold her momentarily while someone dressed as an elf (but clearly too tall) would snap a picture. This was all done to us as children, and I believe the intent is to teach us to never trust strangers, and that you can’t always get what you want, no matter who you tell. For us, at least, it was mainly about our only quest in life – a chance for a cute (albeit expensive) photo opp.

We were a bit stressed about leaving for home the next morning, but we somehow found the time to pile into the car, and head over to the mall. The line was deceptively short, but we stood there for probably a half an hour as the little children in front of us spilled their guts to a clearly disinterested Kris Kringle. We bided our time trying to decide how badly we wanted to be extorted by the giant elves parked in front of Santa with a digital camera not unlike my own and a photo printer. Finally, our time arrived.

The lead elf (elfette?) who was clearly a pro, recognized a potential time-bomb, and suggested to her helper that she “take it quick.” My wife approached Santa, who had a dazed look in his eyes. Turns out that this particular mall had only one Santa on duty for the entire season, who ran 8 hour shifts with 45 minutes for breakfast and lunch. If the phrase is “wearing your emotions,” this Santa would be Figure 1. Kim thrust Justine into his arms, he stared off into space, perhaps dreaming of his bed, or the fifth of scotch he had stowed in his locker, and the giant elf snapped a photo. Then we spent two minutes trying to get a bewildered Justine to smile at this predicament that we put her in.

She’s a reasonably intelligent baby, and looked back and forth at us, trying to understand what we were telling her to do. Then she slowly turned her head at the mass of white hair and vacant eyes that was behind her, and realized, rather quickly, that neither Mommy nor Daddy was holding her. She then inevitably dissolved into tears. Kim rescued her, and we continued out the gate, pausing to fork over 6 months of pay for a 5×7 and 4 wallets. Was it worth it?

Of course. And I have the pictures to prove it.

Posted in Christmas, Day to Day Baby Living. Tagged with , , .