nah, I can't even make the lightbulb joke. That's just wrong.
So we did three events with the jolly dude in red, partially to see how such events are in this new area we still don't know a whole lot about (still haven't found my way to the library yet, for instance, which for me is sacrilege) and partially because, well, we could. #1: Kiwanis Club breakfast with Santa. Not bad. Food OK if unmemorable -- your bagels, your Pop-Tarts, your coffee. Santa nice enough. Beard: Fake. Arts and crafts were cute. Kiddo flipped because the bagels were "broken" (pre-sliced) and then flipped again because he asked Santa for a garbage truck but could not find one among the freebie goodies they were giving out. We explained that Santa had to go back to his shop and make the garbage truck first. Kiddette gave us a "huh?" look about the photo but put up with it pretty well.
#2: Santa train at this place. Kinda fun. Nice train, travels out for a bit then reverses back to the station. Mostly you see back yards. Santa (beard: fake) ho-ho-hos through the cars and poses for pics. Very nice about it, chats with the kids, poses as much as you want. Kiddo made sure to remind him about the garbage truck and Santa quickly pretended to jot down a note about it. A conductor handed out little plush snowmen. Kiddo and the slightly younger boy in the seat in front had a grand old time pointing out the window, jabbering at each other, jumping up and down and yanking on the garlands strung from the overhead racks. Kiddette used her big blue eyes to charm the heck out of that boy's dad, then swung around to conquer the older kids in the seat in back of us. She also managed to get into their picture. Fortunately the mom thought that was funny. Sadly the snack bar back at the museum was out of lemonade. Cue kiddo flipping (mildly).
#3: Another Santa breakfast, but this time at the local hangout restaurant. Just kiddo and me, since DH was working and I thought we could have some Mommy-and-me time. Santa (none of these guys grow their own beards, do they?) was stationed in the back of the restaurant, ready for quick photos and hugs -- and in kiddo's case, a high five. I took pictures of him with Santa, of him looking at the decorations on the windows, and at his insistence, of his toy car. He ate an entire waffle, thus proving he still does have an appetite when carbs and/or sugar are involved. There was face painting, which kiddo did not want, and decorate-your-own cupcakes, which he did. Also managed to dump half the sprinkles all over his plate, which was our cue to leave.
You'd think all this Santa-ness would be confusing, because how could Santa be everywhere at once, all month, but still be able to make all the toys? Are the elves on permanent time and a half? DH is no help on this point, because he doesn't remember there being this many Santa-type events when he was a kid. He remembers going to Macy's, waiting on line, doing the lap thing and that was it. I don't know if it's nice or a little weird that you could see Santa, literally, everywhere if you wanted, from Thanksgiving right on through Christmas.
I don't know how I would feel about that if I were a Christian. Would it be heartwarming, or another example of the crass commercial juggernaut that Christmas has become? I'm trying to imagine Hanukkah getting to that level of saturation, so I could see how I felt about that, but the idea of Hanukkah achieving total Christmas-esque domination is so laughable that I can't do it.
At any rate kiddo didn't seem confused. I guess at his age all adults are mysterious and unexplainable, so why should the dude in the fake beard be any different?