Santa Claus is a wonderful guy. So are his many helpers that fan out this time of year to make pictures with kids.
There is a picture somewhere with my brother, Dixon, and I with Santa at Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Atlanta’s West End. I look to be about 2. I judge that because I am wearing white leather high-top shoes. They were supposed to make my flat feet less flat.
I am not happy and it has nothing to do with my feet.
The picture has my brother all smiling and giddy, while I am in near hysterics. I clearly am not fond of this man in the red suit.
The next Santa picture I could find was made at Rich’s in downtown Atlanta. I remember getting on that special elevator that took you directly to the North Pole. We rode the Pink Pig around the Rich’s great tree and through some plastic curtains that took you high above Toyland. For my photo, I have on a tie. One did not go to big Rich’s downtown without being properly dressed.
This time, I am happy, as is Dixon.
The identifying number on the front of the chair tells us the exact mileage to the North Pole.
Rich’s also had several stalls containing white tail deer, which they told us were reindeer. I think they were just reindeer helpers.
Today, getting a picture with Santa is a much bigger deal. There are some of Santa’s helpers who look more Santa-like than the others.
Last year, a co-worker of mine took his little boy for a photo session with Santa. It was done in a kitchen where the little fellow made cookies with Santa. I thought it might be a bit much but that the pictures would be cute.
I was wrong.
Santa photos are an event not to be missed. My young grandson, Walter, who is perhaps the cutest and most intelligent child to emerge from Northeast Georgia Medical Center, has already had his first Santa event.
Walt is splendidly adorned in a red striped onesie. He is seated on the sidewalk, as Santa stands behind him in his very real suit and boots. He looks up adoringly at that jolly old elf. I certainly am prejudiced, but when I show it to others they exhale a breathy “Oh!” I just stand there trying not to gloat.
We have other poses including Walt sitting in Santa’s lap. His whole baby face is smiling. Please forgive my gushing.
Bear in mind, Walter is only six-months-old. Next year, when he is 18-months-old, he may scream his precious little head off.
There is something wonderful about kids crying with Santa. Those pictures make such great additions to graduation and wedding picture collections when that little one grows up.
Oh, they’ll protest, but we’ll use them anyway.
I also think about having Walt spend time with my father-in-law, who sports a beard that has a certain degree of Santa-like charm. I may buy him a fluffy red sweater.
But then again, Santa doesn’t always wear the fake fluffy fur finery anymore. The new Santa helpers seem to have fancy vests or even one who was wearing gold lame’.
I may have to show Walt pictures of Wayne Newton and cover up his dyed-black hair.
So long for now, there are just under four weeks until Christmas and I have a lot of gloating to do.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.