Santa Claus appeared at many different venues when I was a child in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Sitting on some type of chair or throne-like chair – and dressed in his signature red suit and hat, he would wait for children. To sit on his lap. Briefly. For a quick question and answer, smile for the camera..and done! Then a parent would wait in line for the polaroid result of this annual pilgrimage.
I couldn’t wait to meet up with him…(or one of his elves subbing in – the explanation for why there was also a Santa on the street…and in the local Bamberger’s or Sterns department store at a “Breakfast with Santa” event on Saturday mornings)…in order to pass on my requests for presents.
I visited the pre-mall Santas – often appearing at local church fairs…or church “bazaars” as we used to call them. These were simple affairs…handmade mittens, cookies, potholders and such made by the church ladies. In the corner sat Santa – waiting for the local kids to sit on his lap and whisper their wishes for Christmas morning. Santa looked eerily similar to men I would see at church on Sunday talking to my parents, but I never questioned why.
I do not remember what I asked for the year this black & white photo was taken…but Santa looks like he had heard most everything by the time it was our turn.
Almost thirty years later, my daughter sat on Santa’s lap at our local mall. And whispered her hopes for gifts on the 25th. Again there was the wait in line for the polaroid result.
Pictures with Santa in 2018?
Still at a mall. There is a long wait circling around extending past the stores. Babies, toddlers and elementary school age kids. Some dressed up. Some kids panic at the sight of this large man in the red suit. Other don’t…sitting quietly, not quite understanding all the activity. But still, whispering…something…to Santa. Look towards the camera. Hopefully, smile.
There is no longer a wait for the polaroid print. Now it is air-dropped to your smart phone. For a fee of course.
“Pictures with Santa” has changed in many ways in the past 50 plus years. As one might expect. All things do.
Santa sits on a fancier throne. I don’t see him at the church fairs.
Photos are digital and float through the air.
But the excitement in a toddler’s eyes…
I saw Santa, Mama! I sat on his lap!
The smiles. The jumping up and down…
THAT has not changed at all.