We decided to go to the "free" Santa who is always in the Bass Pro shop in one of our local malls.
He's a little different than most mall Santa's. Your kid gets to see him, for no cost. You even get one free photo (with package options you can purchase if you wish.)
The BIGGEST plus of the Bass Pro Santa is that he seems to encourage the children to actually tell him what they want for Christmas.
That is what I remember Santa being about when I was little. You would go see him. You would sit on his lap and he would ask you if you've been naughty or nice. You would tell him you've been nice, whether you really had or not, and then you would tell him what you wanted him to bring you for Christmas. And there may have been someone there with a Polaroid camera to take a picture of you in Santa's lap.
These days the Mall Santa's all seem to be about selling the biggest photo package possible, and getting pictures with as many kids as possible. I know the lines of Santa happy tykes can get long, but they don't seem to take any time to TALK to the ones in their laps.
The Bass Pro Santa did his best to coax Parker to come talk to him. Parker has decided to be TERRIFIED of Santa for the 2nd year in a row. Spencer just nuzzled into his fuzzy sleeve and was a happy baby.
When Parker still refused to visit the Santa offered him a candy cane, and told us to come back for another try if the picture of Spencer wasn't clear enough.
He was a really nice Santa.
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