(It should go without saying, then, that I never even dream of getting in on the discount action on Black Friday or the day after Christmas--waking up--or not even going to sleep at all--to stand in line for hours in order to trample the poor doorman and scratch and scramble to get the last Play Station--I'd rather break my own knee-caps, thankyouverykindly.)
Needless to say, you may have guessed that I have never taken my daughter to the mall to get her picture with Santa. Actually, the mere idea of taking her to the mall, standing in line, paying some exorbitant fee, and then trying to coax her onto Santa's lap sounds like one of my numerous definitions of Hell.
Yet, tonight, there we were... not at the mall, but a nearby shopping center. I had to buy some things at Target and I had promised her we could go see the light show at the plaza-playground-amphitheater of sorts.
And there he was, SANTA!
G: "I wanna see Santa!"
Me: "OK" (What the hell... let's do it for posterity's sake... and no line--bonus!)
So we approached the set and got ready to pay for the $8 photo. I overheard the woman in front of me asking what payments they accepted. Cash or check. Naturally, I hardly ever carry cash, because you hardly ever need it anymore. And when in the name of all that is holy was the last time anyone carried around a checkbook, for crying out loud! So I turned sadly to G and said: "I am sorry G, we'll have to catch Santa later, we can't see him today."
(now, obviously I am thinking to myself: "well, that sucks, the first and only time she is ever going to see Santa and he doesn't accept debit. I guess I'll have to add THAT to my wish list--"Dear Santa, I know you are old and all, but this is the 21st century and cash is so 1900's, so could you invest in the technology of plastic cards?")
Then, the sweetest thing happened. A woman, who had overheard me talking to G as she picked up her picture and saw the look of desperation in G's face as she longed for her turn on Santa's lap, touched my arm and slipped a $10 bill into my hand and said "Merry Christmas."
Of course, I ran to the nearest coffee shop and grabbed myself a latte--Santa-Schmanta!
RELAX!! Not really. What kind of mother would I be if I denied G this once in a lifetime experience, this rite of passage?
So we got her a picture with Santa and we didn't even have to stand in line. HA! (I know that will make some of you envious.)
So here, as proof, that even at the most hectic time of year, in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, kindness and generosity and the Christmas spirit are still to be found in the simplest of good deeds, I offer you, the only picture (probably) the world will ever see of G and Mr. Claus.
Now that G knows she has visitation rights with Santa, what are the chances that I will get out of the Santa visit next year?