Henry and Amelia finally saw Santa this past weekend. Twice, actually--once at the Oakland Zoo and once at my mom's club's holiday brunch. Having two Santa sighting so close together posed a problem: the kids remembered what Santa looked like on Friday, and they wanted to know why Santa looked totally different on Sunday.
Which brings us to the fact that the whole Santa story has many, many holes, and a parent committed to the Santa Experience is often forced to perform fantastic feats of split-second spin control. In the case of two different Santas, I explained that St. Nick can't attend all the holiday events himself, what with the prep work for his BIG DAY, so he sends out elves dressed as Santa who report back to him about what everyone wants for Christmas. Sometimes, of course, he shows up himself, so we have to be on the lookout for the real Santa. And that is why some Santas look real and some look very, very sketchy.
I also had to come up with a reason for Toys for Tots, because, really, shouldn't Santa be getting things for the poor children? Shouldn't that be his number one job? I told Henry that parents send money to Santa every year to pay for the gifts and delivery, and that some families don't have money, so we pick out toys for those kids to help Santa out. And that maybe Santa slips in a few extras for us because we're helping him out. That's logical, right? Although the whole pay-for-play deal does seem to suck the magic right out of it.
Anyway, Henry ran right up to both Santas, sat right down, and asked for Star Wars action figures, Star Wars Legos, and an iPad (I'll have to thank my dad later for bringing such a thing to my house before Christmas). And despite my wide-eyed head shaking at Santa, Mr. Claus's response has led Henry to believe that they have an agreement. No amount of explaining that Santa might have other video game systems up his sleeve can shake Henry from the conviction that he is getting an iPad. And he's not. So that will be fun on Christmas morning.
Amelia took a little longer to warm up to the old man. At the zoo she refused to sit on Santa's lap, and instead stood at the foot of the sleigh and shouted up, "I want video games!" When Santa asked what kind of video game she wanted, she shouted back, "Pink!"
She felt different at the Sunday brunch, when she ran up to chat with Santa three different times, once actually climbing onto Santa in the middle of another kid's meeting. By the third time she didn't have anything left to ask for, so she told Santa about our cats.
I'll post a photo if I ever get around to downloading them from the camera.