I was a new mom to a 7-month old baby. I thought the only place to see Santa was at the mall. Fortunately the line was not very long.
When Ashley was a year old we stumbled upon Santa while touring Kuser Mansion in Hamilton, NJ. It took us a couple of years to discover the pattern and to make it a habit to see him.
Looking back I must have been crazy, but at the time it seemed sane. Ashley and I went into NYC with Debbi and Christopher to see the Christmas decorations, and take a picture with Santa at Macy's Santaland. It was an ambitious day with two small kids and mass transit.
We had a nice visit with Santa at Hershey Park the year Ashley was 3.
When Ashley was 4 we returned to to Kuser Mansion to visit Santa. Over the years we've been able to have long chats with Santa.
When Ashley was 5 we took her to Kale's Nursery, a local florist, to see "the best Santa," according to an acquaintance. He was closer to home, and was available more hours, but he was not the true Santa.
Back to Kuser Mansion to see the true Santa. Ashley and Baby, her doll, dressed like Santa for the picture.
My mom's other grandchildren could not make it to Kuser to meet Santa, so we met up at Marketfair Mall instead. Ashley was in first grade, but I was homeschooling her that year, so our schedule was flexible. We were the first ones at the mall. While waiting, a photographer from the US 1 Newspaper asked if Ashley was afraid of Santa. I said no. He asked Ashley and Santa to do a small photo shoot together. It was on the cover of the US 1 newspaper the following week.
When Ashley was 7 years old, she asked Santa for a pair of spats. From here on out, Santa calls Ashley "Spats."
8-year old Ashley showing Santa the spats he brought her the year before. She then asked him for a sewing machine.
At 9 Ashley asked Santa for a bearded dragon. Yeah, right, like that stands a chance of happening! There is no way I was going to allow a reptile to live in our house.
2012This year 10-year old Ashley brought Sandy Claws to meet Santa Claus.
Visiting Santa a Desiree Daniels annual open house. They asked about Sandy.
Back at Desiree Daniel's Open House. They asked again about Sandy. He has been pooping too much to take him out in public. This year our 12 year old asked for a trip to Europe. Amazing how the ante keeps getting upped.
Back to Desiree Daniel's house again for a quick sneak visit before dashing to school to be aged 60 years from 13 to mid-70s to turn into Scrooge. Santa noted she has grown again. Ashley has been too busy to think about what she wants for Christmas this year. Does this mean Santa gets off easy this year?
For the first time I did not take a picture of just Ashley with Santa. A sign the times are changing and that I was more excited to see Santa than she was? Heidi also started a new tradition -- she invited Santa to her holiday party. We also saw him at Desiree Daniels' house (timed well so we arrived at a lull). For the second year in a row, Ashley didn't tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas.