No, this is not a movie review and has nothing to do with the recent film starring Billy Bob Thornton. This is about what happens when grumpy old men get fat, grow a beard and decide to take a job as a mall Santa.
We went to a local mall this past Saturday with my wife’s sister and her two boys, ages 8 and 12. First we went to a portrait studio to get a portrait of all the grandsons for Jen’s parents. That went well, actually. The ironic thing being that Liam was the most difficult for the photographer to work with, yet he was the only one who was smiling in every single picture.
Liam was fun at the mall. The kid is absolutely fearless. The second I’d set him down, he’d be off running, regardless of all the huge people he was walking in front of, causing them to jump out of the way to avoid him. He didn’t seem to be concerned about where his parents were, until he would enter a store and turn to see if I was still behind him, then when he saw me he would smile crazily and tear off into the store away from me. Anytime I would cut him off he would laugh and run the other way. In one store he went to check out some fuzzy slippers in the front window and I went into the mall to look in at him. He saw me and just started laughing. He touched the glass between us and I put my finger on the glass, too, and he put his finger to my finger and just laughed and laughed. He was cracking me up. I had to grab him by his overalls a couple of times to save him from certain trampling – he thought that was great fun too.
He sat on Santa’s lap and didn’t cry at all. He just looked at Santa with his expressionless stare. Santa played some patty cake with Liam’s hands and that got him to smile enough for the “elves” to snap a picture, which they promptly charged us $20 for.
My nephews did the Santa thing, too, though I’m not sure either of them believe in him anymore. When Santa asked what they wanted, they apparently said that they didn’t know, or they weren’t sure, something that shy, polite kids would say. Santa’s response was something along the lines of, “Well, you guys are pretty stupid aren’t you.” Santa is pretty lucky I didn’t find out he’d said that until later that day, or Santa may have been seeking reconstructive surgery for Christmas. I told Jen’s sister to complain to the mall management about it, hopefully she will and Santa will be replaced next year.