This past weekend I had the privilege of taking photographs at a Christmas party given by Sarah Henning, a realtor Jimmy and I work with here in Tallahassee.
I was to capture the children on Santa's lap. They were coming to the party to have cookies and milk, make reindeer food, and of course tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.
Santa did not disappoint. He was amazing. When Jimmy and I were talking about it later, Jimmy said "I believe in Santa!" If you were there, you would too.
This man was the complete package. He had a real beard, rosy cheeks, a fancy red suit. He brought some of Rudolph's bells with him to show the children. They were old ones. He told the kids he just got Rudolph some new ones. He said he has 26 reindeer, but that most people only know the names of 9 of them.
When a child asked where Mrs. Claus was, he said, "She's home baking cookies of course. She does that every Sunday night. The elves get very hungry you know."
To almost every child he would say, "Wow! You've grown since last year!" and "What do you want for Christmas? But you don't have to tell me...I already know."
A couple of times I heard him say, "You're four years old? I love four!" Every time he laughed he'd make sure he turned it into a "ho ho ho" at the end. The guy was genuinely the coolest Santa I've ever seen.
And just when I thought he couldn't get any better, a little girl asked him about a Christmas song. I didn't hear what she specifically asked, but he said, "I'm so glad you asked me that!" and pulled a harmonica out of his boot and started playing Jingle Bells on it.
All the kids who were there were decked out in their Christmas best clothes and looked super cute.
Jimmy and I and kids were invited to the party but since I was working Jimmy told me to scope it out first and call him if I thought it would be a good idea to bring the kids. We don't reveal our crazy at just any venue, you know.
I texted him the following: Bring. Kids. Nice clothes. Best behaviors
(I was holding my camera with one hand, give me a break.)
I really didn't think he'd come. I had just come from photo shoots at a park so I hadn't been home in over 2 and a half hours. Jimmy and the kids had been home all afternoon without me. I really didn't think he'd attempt to locate nice clothes and shoes for everyone, dress them, comb their hair, and give the good behavior lecture. But I thought it would be fun for my kids to see such a cool Santa. And I could photograph them with him which never has and probably never will happen again.
But Jimmy came. However, the texting of "nice clothes" didn't really seem to have the meaning I wished to convey. How I could believe that what Jimmy thinks of as "nice clothes" and what I think of as "nice clothes" are even remotely similar, I'm not sure. And there was no hair combing of any kind.
Not to slander my husband in any way. They arrived whole and wearing shoes (sometimes we arrive places only to discover someone is barefoot) and had no visible food on their faces. He did put a dress on Juliet but whenever she raised her arms you could see her sagging diaper below it. I let it all roll. I knew Santa didn't care. He knows that my kids (and my husband) should get whatever they want this year because they are the best.
I didn't get a perfect photo of them (Juliet wouldn't even sit with him...Santa had already explained to an older child that children between 18 and 22 months can be afraid of him) but I took a photograph of what was happening. A picture of our crazy life.
When the night was over I went to Santa and told him thank you and that I enjoyed working with him. He shook my hand and told me to stay on the nice list. Anything for you, Santa.