This morning Josh and I woke up and decided to surprise the boys with a skipped day of school and a trip into the city to Macy’s Santaland. We realized the other day that we hadn’t taken the kids to see Santa this year and it seriously made me feel like an inadequate parent.
After talking to a few people who have gone to Santaland, as well as reading some online tips for visiting, we decided that our best shot at seeing Santa without waiting in an hours long line was to be there at opening time. So we went about our morning as if we were taking the kids to school, even having the boys dress in uniform, and left the house before 8am. Just as we were getting to the point where we needed to turn left to go to the school or right to cross the bridge, we spilled the secret and teased the boys that they should probably be a little nervous because their behavior all morning was awful. They giggled but I could see them tense up.
We parked at Josh’s office and took the train to 34th street where we crossed the street and entered Macy’s into the jewelry shop. Theo later made a comment that Santa must be trying to help all of the men and boys with all of that jewelry. 🙂
We took the elevator up to the 8th floor where Santaland was located. We passed adorable little window boxes with mechanical dolls portraying scenes from the movie Miracle on 34th Street and then entered the Santaland Express where we were happily greeted by “elves” rather than a long line. There was no line actually. We had arrived around 9:15 and ended up leaving Macy’s before 10:00. It was definitely worth it to be there early!
The Santaland Express was a cute little trail decorated with toy soldiers, trains, snow covered Christmas trees and talking reindeer. There were signs showing how many more steps you needed to take before you’d be on Santa’s lap and a giant Christmas countdown banner. Within just a few minutes we were entering a little room off of the trail and met by a glowing white haired Santa sitting on a giant throne. I’m embarrassed to admit but I was a little intimidated by the most famous Santa in the world. The boys walked over and climbed on his lap and we attempted to plop Ruby down too but she was, of course, stand offish so I held her while the boys took a few pictures.
Once pictures were finished up Santa began to talk to the boys and ask them what it was that they wanted this year. And then a real Christmas miracle occurred. Theo was speechless. He was so enamored by Santa that he couldn’t remember what it was that he wanted and after a few seconds of Santa saying, “Oh, come on, there must be something you want,” he was finally able to squeak out, “hex bugs” to which Santa replied “Oh! An Xbox!” but Theo didn’t waste his time correcting Santa. Instead he just smiled. The sweetness melted my heart.
Parker’s reaction wasn’t much different than Theo’s. He had some extra time to think about what he needed to tell the big man so when Santa turned to him, he nervously said that he wants Skylander’s Swap Force. Santa replied that it all sounds nice and perhaps he’ll bring a few surprises too.
Santa tried once again to get Ruby’s interest and she did finally warm up to him but only enough to give a little smile. We all took a family photo with Santa which, secretly, I had to do. I mean, how many times do you get the chance to sit with the
real Macy’s Santa Claus? When we left Ruby said, “Bye Santa!” and Theo finally found his voice as he quickly rambled on about the type of cookies he is going to make for Santa and how our nice neighbors gave us funny cookie cutters that are gingerbread men with what appears to be eaten off appendages. It was a success for all of us.
I was shocked with how magical the entire thing seemed and also with how much time we were given with Santa. Since it was a separate room, there were no annoyed kids and parents in sight, impatiently waiting for their turn. Santa was ours for what seemed like as long as we wanted and it was the best. It was so incredible that I couldn’t help myself from tearing up as we left (while Josh laughed).
Afterwards we decided to walk up to Rockefeller Center and see the Christmas tree since we haven’t seen it since it was lit, and grab some hot chocolate somewhere. During the walk we talked about Santa and I asked Parker if he thought he was the real one. We go on the premise that Santa uses helpers to get around to all of the children at Christmas time since he’s such a busy man, so the boys know that not all department store Santas are real. Parker responded with, “I think I understand why the girl in the movie (Miracle on 34th Street) started to believe again.”
I asked Theo what he thought about Santa to which he responded with, “I am just shocked that I made the nice list!” Parker agreed and said that he feels much more comfortable now that he’s spoken with Santa. Hysterical.
The tree was of course beautiful, but really, all of New York is incredible this time of year. We stopped for pastries and drinks in the grand concourse under Rockefeller Center and ended up having one of the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had in my life. It was such a great morning.
The most fantastic thing about our visit with Santa is how perfectly what he said aligned with our plans for Christmas. You see, we have always done only one gift from Santa every year so at first Parker was thrown off when Santa said, “Perhaps I’ll bring a few surprises too.” He asked me why Santa would say that when the boys each gave him one thing that they wanted. Luckily I had already thought about this so I explained that Santa probably knows that we have a very big family that likes to buy presents and maybe he’s on to something that we don’t know. The reason that this is so perfect is because the gift that Josh and I have purchased for “Santa” to give to the boys are sleds – something that they didn’t ask for – while their aunts have bought them what they asked Santa for today. After this morning’s conversation with the big guy I now plan to write a letter to the boys, accompanying the sleds, explaining that Santa knew all along that their wishes were being answered by their aunts so instead, he decided to surprise them with something that he knows they’ll love. The funny thing is that I’m usually not excited about what we give the boys from Santa because, honestly, it takes away from the glory of what Josh and I give them. But because of the magic that this experience has created I can not wait until they open that letter.