how we survived: santa claus
Parenting in New York City is like 75% just beating the crowds. "Oh, you want to sign up for a baby music class? That's nice; just make sure to get to the school two hours before it opens so you get a good place in the registry line, 'mmmkay?" Sigh.
Santa-ing in Manhattan might as well be a contact sport. The players are shorter, sure, but this game is cutthroat.
To wit: Mothers speak of the ABC Carpet Santa Claus in revered, hushed tones that you normally reserve for like ... well, Jesus, I guess. "He is the real deal," they'll say conspiratorially. Does that mean he owns reindeer? Or just really likes cookies? I don't know. And, friends, I will never know because this past year was ABC Santa's last. "Well, Juliet," you might say. "Wouldn't that mean you'd really want Avvie to meet him, since after this Christmas you'll never have the chance again?" Well, yes, dear reader, I did want to meet him. And so did every other first-time (and veteran) parent in this whole damn city.
See, because it was Santa's last year, and he's -- I'm guessing here -- really old, ABC Santa was only working on Sundays, for a limited number of hours. This sent a lot of parents into full New York-mode, which is to say, "Two-hour waits be damned, I'mma bring my lawn chair and WAIT THIS SHIT OUT." And they did! A lot of them! I walked by ABC Carpet at 10 AM, a full hour before the store even opened and the queue was already around the block. Many of my friends are braver than I am and waited in the line and, yes, ABC Santa is definitely magical. Their pictures are awesome.
But since she (nor I) is really great at waiting, I opted to snag other Santas at off-peak times: [And that's right, that's santas, plural. Because what kind of New York parent would I be if she didn't get photo ops with more than one?]
We first stopped at the Bloomingdale's Santa, on a Wednesday right after Thanksgiving. You guys, no line, a free toy, AND you don't even have to pay for photos. Me, being the first-time, sucker-born-every-minute parent that I am, of course bought the frame and a dozen prints, but whatever.
Our second Santa was at The Plaza Hotel, where I've never seen more children in dress coats and fancy bows. It was pretty much heaven. Also, this Santa was really legitimate, like M&M commercial good. You do have to pay for photos here, but there are a lot of options. We got an ornament.
And finally, Santa number three was at La Sirena restaurant, just this past Sunday. This was the slickest operation, with a real photographer, mood lighting and free, professional shots sent to your email. Also, this Santa was very concerned with making sure each kid was comfortable sitting with a stranger. He had me sit next to him first, before transferring Avvie to his lap. Thus, my very first photo with Santa. Ha!
Of course, as a newly-minted New York parent, I'm already planning for next year. There's the infamous Macy's holiday extravaganza, plus the new kid in town at Brookfield Place. For now, I'm just looking into purchasing a top-of-the-line lawn chair.