Like all good parents of littles we took our kiddos to see Santa. I'm a frugal parent, and I refuse to go to the mall and pay hyped-up prices for a picture with the big guy. We are fortunate enough that Ethan, as a member of the Knights of Columbus is given the opportunity to bring kids to see Santa, take pictures, color, and eat some cake for a short afternoon get-together.
Not terribly crowded (which pleases the hubby and I), the kids are entertained, and the "Santa" has an actual real beard and brings "friends."
One of his friends he brings along is a silly elf named Shaggy. Shaggy gets in to all kinds of mischief by teasing Santa and playing little tricks on the kids. Our little Jackie was very interested in Shaggy. To her, he was super annoying and quite funny at the same time.
He took her little toy Santa gave her. And then gave it back. Boy was he silly!
Santa was a hit with our girls for the first time! They actually went independently and sat on his lap without having to be taken by mom. They told him what they wanted for Christmas and that they had been good girls. Jackie also took the time to tattle on that Shaggy.
Billy wasn't a fan right away...no way, no how was he going to sit on that lap. BUT when Santa was about to leave he couldn't let the big guy get away without a fist bump and high-five. Then some swift movements by Santa and mommy got Bill right up on his lap for a picture!
It was a great afternoon.
But little did I know, it wouldn't end there.
Jackie is at a great age for Santa. She is VERY inquisitive about everything he does and how it all works, and for now, the answers that we (and movies) give her seem to satisfy her curiosity. It is such a magical time as a parent too, seeing the joy and wonder of Santa. One of the coolest things our elementary school does is have the little ones write letters to Santa. Preschool through 2nd grade get to spend a little class time writing a letter and sending it off to the North Pole. Those kids come home SUPER excited a few weeks later when they receive a REPLY letter. What those littles don't know (yet) is that our 8th grade students write them back as busy "elves" helping Santa.
This puts me in a unique position. I usually know the 8th grader who writes back to Jackie and this year I was able to provide some "inside information" to her Santa experience that made it all the more REAL. I was able to pass along the information about that mischievous elf, Shaggy! Which was promptly added to her return letter. Jackie found it hilarious that her elf "Shimmer" actually knew Shaggy and was doing her best to try and keep him out of trouble.
But the Shaggy Saga doesn't end there...
You see. Jackie wanted quite a few things for Christmas, and like a typical 6-year-old there were last-minute changes and things she asked for that were NOT going to come from Santa. I worked hard those last few weeks leading up to Christmas trying to explain to her that Santa doesn't just give her "whatever she wants." He tries to giver her things he thinks she will want, even if she doesn't realize it. However...the one thing she was consistent in asking for was Mermaid Pajamas.
There were NO mermaid pajamas in stores this winter. None. Amazon had very slim options. Everything was Unicorns. (Which was her little sister's current infatuation.) Little sister was easy... but imagine Jackie's "belief" in Santa when Katerina gets her unicorn things and there's no mermaid stuff for Jackie. Ugh. It's not like she was asking for something that was going to cost us hundreds of dollars. This should have been a simple fix.
And then in comes dad with the BEST idea. Shaggy!
We're going to use him to buy us a little time.
So on Christmas Eve, when Santa stopped by and set out the gifts, he left some cute, soft bunny PJs for Jackie along with a little note explaining why those PJs weren't printed with mermaids.
And BOY did it WORK!
She was the first one up in the morning came bounding in our room flabbergast as to why Santa would give her rabbit PJs when she asked for Mermaid. But after a little further investigation and reading (she had to read the letter herself...LOVING that I could tie a little reading into this!) she discovered that the SILLY ELF SHAGGY HID HER PAJAMAS and that Santa would send her some mermaid ones as soon as he found them!
Hook. Line. & Sinker.
That simple explanation made complete and total since to her. She understood competely and is no awaiting new PJs in the mail. We have explained to her that Santa may have to wait until closer to spring time before sending them!