My boss got an email from a local shopping center asking us to take advantage of "Holiday Family Night" which meant that they some free food for the kids and a visit from Santa. They wanted us to create "buzz" for them on our blog. So, since my boss lives in the 'burbs and this shopping center is really close to my house, I was given the "beat".
So, here's the hilarious part to me, first, this is not a family-focused shopping center. They could be, but they are not. The only family store they had in it was Gap Kids and they took that out a couple of years ago. Imagine the hippest urban mall you can think of next to a university and you would be close. It is a mixed-use mall with loft apartments on top of the stores and restaurants. The stores include Gap, Urban Outfitters, upscale clothing and West Elm.
THIS outdoor shopping mall decided to lure families on a cold December night with the promise of free food for the kids and an outdoor showing of A Christmas Story. Yes, you read that right, an outdoor showing of A Christmas Story on a Monday night in the middle of December. Don't get me wrong. That movie is a must on the Christmas list but honestly, outdoors in December? with kids? No thanks, I'll watch it when TBS runs the 24-hour marathon.
And then there was Santa. This poor Santa was placed in a chair outside in 30 degree weather with NO ONE around, of course, because no families ever go to this shopping center!
And that made it the greatest Santa experience I have EVER had!
We pulled around to the parking garage, and there was (that poor) Santa. Sitting alone in a chair with a beam of light shining on him. Jack started screaming. It was probably one of the greatest moments I have ever had as a Mom. So, we meet Dad there and Jack goes running down the stairs to see Santa. He plopped in his lap and immediately asked 25 questions about where the reindeer were and the elves and the toys and will Santa join us for dinner at the pub, etc.
No two-hour wait to see Santa at the mall like I had last year. No other moms impatiently waiting and tapping their foot while my three-year old thinks of all the toys that pop in his head. No $35 Santa photos. Just Jack and Eva with the big guy.
Santa, as it should be.