The only way to describe the scene once Santa makes it inside is pure, grade-school style mayhem. Ages 5 through 8 are chomping at the bit to be the first one on Santa’s lap. Some of the 3-and-under crowd resort to screaming in high anxiety and fear of the oddly dressed, bearded stranger who has caused the chaos.
Many of the older kids (including me) play it cool, but are secretly so excited this moment is here that they hover nearby so as not to be missed when Santa asks, “Is that everybody?”
Every child gets a turn to sit on Santa’s lap and confess how good they’ve been all year. Some kids sit in line, patiently waiting their turn. Others have to be coerced by their parents who want one last picture of their child on Santa’s lap before the college years begin. And then there are the little ones who cling to their mom and dad’s necks in pure panic that Santa won’t give them back should they take a seat on his knee.
All the while, 20-plus camera flashes are going off with adults yelling, “Look up here!” and “Smile!” and “Turn toward the camera!”
From the outside, you’d think it was a red carpet event for a Kardashian wedding (or divorce).
The entire in-person visit from Santa lasts less than an hour, but the anticipation leading up to his visit and the follow up exhilaration afterward can last for days.
I remember when I was one of the children sitting at Santa’s feet, waiting my turn to tell him about the Cabbage Patch twin dolls I wanted so very badly. I was wearing peach-colored velvet pants with a matching vest that had flowers embroidered down the front. I thought I looked so grown-up in my velvet pantsuit.