And that's where my Santa chase begins.
It all started on Thanksgiving weekend, when I spotted my first of many Santas at the Jordan Creek Mall in Des Moines. He was perfectly authentic (from far away), dressed in bib overalls and no hat to disguise a wig of white. No, this Santa had it all. Small rimmed glasses, a big, Christmas cookies-and-milk belly, and a full head of curly white hair. We had Cruz along, but no camera, and I refused to spend money on an overpriced framed portrait. So, we waited, and instead of sugarplums, I envisioned one more trip to Des Moines, a baby dressed in red, and my Canon Rebel.
Well, that shopping trip came, and Cruz had his chance to sit on Santa's lap. Now, Cruz was starting to get sleepy and therefore, could have cared less who was holding him at the moment; however, I was feeling anything but jolly. Although this Santa may have looked like he was straight from the North Pole, he was a little creepy. Okay, a lot creepy. The shutter on my camera has never moved so fast, but when Santa went to kiss Cruz on the cheek and Cruz began to get tangled in his beard, I decided it was time to move on. I snatched my little one, wished Santa and his even creepier camera man a Merry Christmas, and moved on to Williams Sonoma. I may have pictures, but the memories are far from 'merry.'
Last week, I had another opportunity to get Cruz's picture with Santa. Beau and I met for lunch and since he didn't have much going on at work, decided to do a little Christmas shopping with me. When I spotted the Santa, fully dressed in his red velvet suit at Crossroads Mall, I jumped for joy. He was much better than the bib-wearing creepy man at Jordan Creek, and he smiled sweetly at us as we walked by. And because I was too busy staring at the man in red, I failed to see the huge poster at the entrance of Santa's play land.
NO PERSONAL CAMERAS BEYOND THIS POINT.
You have got to be kidding me. Even though this time, Beau would have allowed me to pay the $30 for a single 5x7 print and tacky candy cane frame, I walked away in spite. There was no way I could justify paying someone to take a single picture of my son with Santa Claus. I felt like a defeated Charlie Brown from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The moment when he goes to seek advice from his friend, Lucy, who demands a nickel for her services. There was no way I wanted to be part of this crappy commercialization anymore than Charlie did.
Friday night, as we were headed to watch NU play basketball, we had a little time to kill before the game. Cruz was dressed in his red striped Gap sleeper, and looked like a little elf. My heart-strings pulled a little as we drove by College Square Mall and we decided to stop. Just to check it out. And there, at the end of the mall, sat the most perfect Santa I had ever seen. Dressed in red, with a perfectly trimmed beard, he sat by himself, just waiting to meet his littlest elf.
And they let this mom take as many pictures as she wanted! After three Santas, we finally found the one.
Meanwhile, my little elf has been loving the Christmas tree. He's lately developed a fascination with laying underneath it. This way, he can look up and see the lights and branches, as well as all the colorful ornaments that hang like a mobile over his head. He stars at it starry-eyed and looks as though Santa dropped him there himself. I'm going to need another diversion to keep my little one content after the holidays.
I can't believe that Christmas is two weeks away. Right now, I'm far from ready for it to be over.