I don’t recommend having kids just so that Christmas is fun again, but if you are thinking about it you should know that it does work. Tonight, as we bundled up and prepared to leave the Mall of America, the good mall Santa walked past us. This is one of those Santas that, if you saw him in shorts and a T-shirt at a baseball game, you would still recognize as Santa. But tonight, even though he was clearly on his way home, he was in full costume. Our four year-old stared at him as he approached. Finally she gave him a shy, flick-of-the-wrist wave. He gave her a cheerful “hello” and complimented her smile as he breezed past us. He was out the door and out of sight before we finished getting coats and mittens on, though our daughter completed those tasks in double time. On our way to the car I wondered aloud whether we would see Santa’s sleigh, and, if so, whether Rudolph would be in the lead tonight. The kid’s pace quickened some more, her eyes fixed on the gap on the outside of the parking ramp, searching for a glimpse.
A quick geographic note: The Mall of America is less than a mile away from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Knowing that, you will not be surprised to learn that, when we exited the parking ramp and looked into the northern sky, (where surely Santa and his sleigh would be expected to be) we saw flashing lights, including one which was red.
“Look, Daddy! I see Santa! And Rudolph the Red-Nosed Deer!”
And so did I.