Ed note: To anyone who wound up here by googling the words “Naked Santa” ~ First of all, why on God’s green earth would you be googling Naked Santa? Actually, please don’t answer that. Secondly, I can promise that this post is NOT what you’re looking for. Merry Christmas and best of luck!
Brooke and Santa, 2010
(In so many ways, my baby’s first Christmas)
“Brooke, honey,” I said as we walked through the Christmas park, I think Santa’s here. Would you like to go see him?”
“I would,” she answered, then abruptly stopped in her tracks.
“Where’s my list?” she asked, her voice tight with concern.
I explained that her list was at home, but that she needn’t worry as she could tell Santa what she’d like and I was sure that would be fine. She wasn’t convinced. Apparently, that wasn’t the way it was supposed to go.
“We would go home and get it,” she said.
Considering that it had taken us well over an hour to get to the Christmas park, I had to tell her that running home and then coming back simply wasn’t an option.
After asking twelve (or twenty) more times and receiving the same answer, the reality finally set in and she seemed to find peace with seeing him list-less.
We timed it well. *My sister, Jess* and I (yes, my sister’s name is Jess, and no, I no longer feel the need to explain why) waited in line while Luau and Jess’s husband, Ryan took the girls on the very Christmasy (except not) spinning rocket ship ride. When I say that we timed it well, I obviously mean on two fronts – we eliminated the wait for the girls while simultaneously avoiding having to submit ourselves to the torture of space travel. My children learned early on that when it comes to rides, Mama’s a sport unless it spins. Rule #1, Mama. Does. Not. Spin. There are no exceptions to rule #1.
By the time the girls were off the ride and their poor little brains sufficiently scrambled, we were next in line. It was perfect – Brooke had just enough time to see how the process worked without growing antsy or agitated or screaming, crying or running for the hills – all of which were part of last year’s waiting in line for Santa fun.
I decided to let the girls see Santa separately. I figured the simpler we could make it the better. Brooke went first.
Santa held out an arm to her, and was miraculously patient when she didn’t come right away. He read her perfectly. He wasn’t loud or in her face. He acted as if he had all night. He never hurried her along, nor pushed her to sit down for the photo op. He simply waited.
She circled him warily, checking him out from different angles. She then drew back a few feet and stopped, facing him from a safe distance.
“Where are your lists?” she asked.
He looked a little confused. “What’s that, Dear?” he asked.
“Where are your lists?” she asked again.
“Santa,” I said, “I think she’s looking for the lists that you check this time of year. The naughty list, the nice list, you know.”
“Ah, my lists!” he said, “Of course! Well, these days it’s all automated. See, it’s all right here in my palm pilot.”
He pointed at his palm, I suppose waiting for her to laugh. Neither knowing what a palm pilot was nor understanding the pun even if she had, she didn’t. But he recovered quickly.
“I keep the lists out in the sleigh, little one. I sure hope the reindeer don’t eat them!”
Her eyes grew wide. “The reindeer?” She looked around as if she might see the sleigh, then came up with another idea.
She pointed at him and said, “You say Ho! Ho! Ho!”
“I love to do that,” he said. He gave it his best shot and held his wide belly as he laughed. “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
This kid was making him work for it.
“Brooke,” he asked, “would you like to tell me what you want for Christmas?”
She stood stock still for a long moment, staring into the middle distance, conjuring her answer. Santa waited silently. The man had the patience of Job.
“A naked Santa,” she said.
The world grew eerily quiet. I could hear nothing but the ringing in my ears. I took stock of my options. I could yell “Fire!” and grab my kid and run. I could chuckle and give the big guy an elbow to the ribs saying, “Bet you haven’t heard that one before, eh, Santa?” Or I could take the coward’s way out, pretend I hadn’t heard her and pray that he would do the same.
I don’t need to tell you that I chose door number three. Thank God Santa either played along, didn’t actually hear her or heard her but assumed he must have mis-heard her. I’m guessing the latter. Either way, he took it in stride. She did not ask for anything else.
Mrs Claus then asked if she’d like to sit with Santa for a picture. She very gently told her that she could sit on his lap, stand next to him or sit on the bench in front of him. There was no doubt that Brooke would choose the bench. She made her way to it and sat down in front of Santa. When Mrs Claus came over to scoot her back on the bench, I waited for all hell to break loose. It didn’t. I watched in awe of my girl. God, how far she’s come.
Brooke sat beautifully. Mrs Claus told her that Santa was going to lean over her and ever so slowly, he did. When he gently took her hands and put them over his, she let him. Three years ago? Two years ago? Last year? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. But there she was, sitting in front of the same Santa she wouldn’t go near last year, doing her darndest to smile for the camera. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.
As we walked away clutching our photo, I thought, “Holy heck, my girl just TALKED to Santa! She SAT with him! She asked him questions! She made him say, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” She GOT it! She really, truly GOT it! All of it. She even asked him for a gift! I .. OK, wait – insert record scratching noise here – What the heck was up with the naked Santa?
You all have seen *her list*. There’s plenty on it – the Godpsell dolls, the Little Einsteins, the plush dolls from Dora, the American Girl Doll, the blocks, the teddy bear – the cat for heaven’s sake. Never has there been any mention of a flippin’ naked Santa. I wondered if I should panic. Or call the authorities. Or wonder what goes on at school.
“Brooke, honey,” I asked, “Did you ask Santa for a nudie Santa?”
“I did,” she said.
“Um, honey,” I began warily, “is that something you saw somewhere?”
“It is,” she answered obligingly.
“Where did you see it, baby?” I asked.
“At [the neighborhood toy store],” she answered.
I began to scan the shelves in my mind. Naked Santa, naked Santa … I was coming up dry until … Wait! I got it!
“Honey, was it the wooden Santa dress up doll? Is that what you saw there?”
“Is that what you meant by the naked Santa, honey?”
Oh thank God.