This is the eighth, and possibly final, post in a series about enjoying the holidays with your kids. I’ve got plenty more to say about holiday traditions but I’m finding it difficult to experience them and tell you witty stories about them at the same time. You know how it is.
When I started dating my future husband, his children were seven, five, four, four, and 2 ¾. I had met each of the kids maybe once or twice when I found myself in line to see Santa at the Nordstrom flagship in downtown Seattle. Now, if you live in a city with kids, you totally know the chaos of waiting in line to see Santa at a department store. It takes forever. Forever. Like best ride at Disneyland forever. And here I was in a new relationship with a man with five children under the age of eight waiting to see Santa. It was a bit surreal.
It became even more surreal when Rob had to rush off with Sam to find a bathroom, leaving me with the older four kids. Again with the living in a city bit, but you try finding a bathroom anywhere in downtown Any City, USA while there is Christmas shopping going on and you have a kid who REALLY NEEDS TO GO NOW. Been there? Yep. I’ll bet you have. And it takes some time, right? You aren’t gone for five minutes. You are gone for at least 20. And during that time, have you ever been asked by a complete stranger to watch their kids so that she can just “dash across the street to Old Navy”? You haven’t? Of course not. Because people don’t just leave their kids with complete strangers. Except that they do. And that day, I found myself suddenly in charge of four of my new boyfriend’s kids, kids who didn’t know anything about me except that I was their dad’s friend, and two stranger’s kids while all six of these kids waited anxiously to see Santa. Good times.
I’m so glad that we have a photo of that day to remember it by. Like I would ever forget that experience.
Things have mellowed out considerably on the Santa front since then. We’ve seen Santa in Idaho, Los Angeles, Spokane, and New York. World travelers, these kids. We’ve seen Santa in malls and at festivals. One year (and I can’t post a photo of this one in the interest of protecting the not-so-innocent), one of the kids accidentally peed their (I can’t use the proper pronoun here because I don’t want to give away gender) pants just before getting to Santa. Of course we had no idea about the accident until we saw the photo. We couldn’t figure out why Santa didn’t put the kids on his lap. The photo is fantastic.
We have photos with two kids and four kids and five kids and eight kids (cousins). The best photos, though, are the ones that we are all in. We don’t do them often, but every once in a while, we suck it up and jump in the photo. I would encourage you to do the same. We all need a little magic at this time of year. We all need to remember that feeling of being a kid at Christmastime. And our kids love to see photos of us with Santa. They also love photos of us (or their grandparents - that's my mom and my uncle, below) with Santa as kids.
So even if you don’t have children yet, take a picture with Santa this year. Do it with your partner or a friend or a sibling or your parents. No need to get fancy. My favorite Santa photo was taken when we were all out shopping and decided to see Santa at the local mall because there wasn’t a line. I’m not sure half of us had even showered. But we had fun.
You will be so glad to unpack your Santa photo from year to year when you decorate your home. Go see Santa. He’s waiting for you.