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The Big Red One

Sunday was a big day for us: church,
decorating our Christmas tree, hosting a small gathering at our
house - and oh yes, going to see Santa. The girls practiced what
they were going to say several times in the days leading up to it,
and I could see both were a bit nervous – not of meeting the
guy himself, I’m afraid, but of messing up their order.

This year we skipped the mall visit and
went to see the Santa at our local outdoor shopping area –
restaurants and apartments and shops all grouped together in a
little “destination area”. Santa was waiting to see us
in, conveniently, a portrait studio, and after we signed in the
photographer led us down a long hall, the girls’ footsteps
slowing step by step until the screeched to a halt just around the

And then they peeped and – there he was in all his glory.
Santa was sitting on a big comfy chair in front of a Victorian
living room Christmas time backdrop, which seemed to phase the
girls not at all. Next to him was a small table with a plate of
chocolate-chip cookies and a note that said, “Santa’s
cookies” – a nice touch, I thought.

The girls immediately overcame their shyness and settled on his
knees, though Maddie refused to tell him what she wanted.
She’d warned me ahead of time I was supposed to speak for her
and had coached me in the proper way to ask, so when prompted I
say, “May Maddie please have a Nutcracker doll?” Cora
patted him on the arm and said, “I’d like an Angelina
ballerina toy house.” (whew!)

We took several pictures, which all turned out quite well, and the
girls politely said thank you and good-bye. After we’d picked
up our pictures and were walking out, the girls chattered excitedly
about how much fun they’d had with Santa.
“Except,” Cora complained, “I didn’t get a

“Oh, hon,” I explained, “Those were Santa’s

“Well,” harrumphed Cora, “You’d think
he’d know to share.”

Santa’s been schooled.


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