Click here for his first visit in 2008 as a little baby. :)
Click here for his second (and much less tranquil) visit in 2009 as an approximately 15 month old.
Click here for a video of the 2010 visit. (I guess I don't have an electronic copy of the picture, which is a darn shame; it is precious! The video is kind of grainy - my apologies.)
And finally, click here to see last year's visit.
Our visit last year was... well, the pre-Santa part was a blast, but the Santa portion was lame. Some time between that day and Easter, we learned about Ability Path's program, Caring Santa. This Easter, Luke saw the Easter Bunny for the first time, and the experience was so positive that we vowed we'd return for the Caring Santa day this season. We were not disappointed!
The event was from 9:00-11:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. A near-empty mall makes for a far less stressful experience for some kids who have a hard time with waiting in line and their parents. To our astonishment, Luke sat and tolerated coloring (and a hat!!!) for a few minutes while we waited for our turn. I think the Goldfish helped.
But Goldfish could only tempt him for so long, and once he got up and discovered the long, nearly vacant straightaways of the mall, Luke was OFF and RUNNING!
I somehow cornered him long enough to get this funny picture...
...but he ran off again - is he casing Helzberg Diamonds? Jeremy followed after him.
At long last (actually, just about 20 minutes - not too bad at all), we got to see Santa. The beauty of this set up is that it is just us up there with Santa, and we had as much time as we needed to get Luke comfortable with Santa. This was particularly great for some of our little friends there that were in wheelchairs and/or had a tougher time getting used to unfamiliar people.
How did Luke fare with Santa? I'll let the pictures tell the story.
We began with a "Hi, Santa!" (We are really making Luke say hi and wave to everyone lately. He's not too enamored with the practice, as you can see.)
A "high five" got him a little more interested.
But a closer study got Luke a little more... astonished at this Santa guy he's heard so much about.
(Seriously... how AWESOME is this?)
"I bet if they leave me alone long enough, I could hack into the mainframe from Mommy's iPhone."
"Ehh, whatever. I'm over it. Do they have any more Goldfish?"
Anyway, we were thrilled with the experience and are so thankful that the folks at Ability Path provide it, as well as Santa and his helpers for taking the time to get a quality visit with some special kids who just needed a little more effort.
This marked a great kick-off to our holiday season! I hope you and yours are enjoying December!