Some Holiday Humor

Posted On January 1, 2012

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A Few Nights Before Christmas

 

A few nights before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Just me and my mouse.

My shopping not done,
I had flown to my chair.
I’d get on the Internet,
And buy my gifts there!

“On Visa! On MasterCard,
Amex! Discover!…”
Double click here!
Buy one or the other!

Load up your shopping cart,
Away with the mall!
Now click away, click away,
Click away, all!

I had finished my list,
“That was easy,” I thought,
“But how do I get all this
Stuff I just bought?”

I must have dozed off,
When I heard such a clatter.
I arose with a start
To see what was the matter.

I threw open the door…
Is this some sort of trick?
The guy on the porch-
“You must be St. Nick!”

“You wish,” said the guy,
“It’s the Fed Ex, you old coot.
Who else do you think
Could schlep all this loot?”

I thanked him again
As he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night!”

[From the comic strip “Shoe”]

How to Get Great Photos with Santa

A photo with Santa Claus can be a cherished keepsake for little ones for many years. And a trip to visit the Big Guy can be a thrilling, fun experience — a highlights of the Christmas season. But for very young or shy children it can be a scary, traumatic nightmare. Even kiddos that you expect to have no problem meeting Santa suddenly panic and run the other way — one of my elves thinks it’s because they are on the naughty list and Santa knows it. Hx3OL

A little advanced planning and some simple preparation can take the stress out of a visit to Ole Saint Nick stress free for your child and you. And it could become a family tradition that everyone remembers fondly.

Here a dozen suggestions for when you take the children to meet and get photos with Santa:

1. Talk about the visit ahead of time. Explain what happens and be ready to answer any questions. A last-minute surprise might be fun, but little ones might need time to process and get comfortable with a face-to-face with Santa.

2. Try to avoid an assembly line, hectic setting (ie The Mall). Look for a smaller venue to meet with Santa. Many businesses, holiday fairs, and organizations host Santa events. (See Santa’s upcoming personal appearances.)

3. Make your visit at the slow times if at all possible. Weekdays will be better than weekends usually. And morning is usually better than evening. If possible arrive before they open so you can be first in line to avoid a wait.

4. Consider a private session with a professional photographer. You can make an appointment and avoid waiting in line. The cost may be higher but the experience and photo quality will probably be much better. Some (including us) will come to you for portraits right in your own home.

5. Plan a time for the visit when the children are rested, fed and happy. Make Santa the first stop on a day of shopping and activities.

6. Bring snacks (non messy), games, books, toys, etc. to entertain the children while you wait in line.

7. Give reluctant or young children a chance to see Santa and observe the process beforehand. If they see other children sitting on his lap and having fun, it can reassure them.

8. Make a trial run or see Santa somewhere else before the big photo session. If a super photo is a priority, make sure your child will be happy with Santa by making an early visit. Or plan two trips. If the first one goes great, cancel the second.

9. Consider what the children wear. Remember Santa will be in red and white. Think contrast and coordination. A little girl in a beautiful red dress will disappear in Santa’s red belly background. Avoid clashing colors too.

10. Parents need to be ready to be in a photo as well — clothes, hair, makeup. A child sitting in a parent’s lap with Santa beside is a better photo than a screaming child on Santa’s knee. Sometimes a couple of photos with a parent can lead to a solo trip to Santa’s lap.

11. Don’t force a fearful child into Santa’s arms. A good Santa will find other ways to get a suitable photo. Parents or siblings in the photo (maybe positioned to be cropped out) are one way. Allowing the child to sit in the chair alone for a photo or two might work. Santa can often sneak in behind when a child is busy with something else.

12. Getting angry, disappointed, or frustrated with a child’s behavior or fright won’t help the situation at all. A parent who is encouraging, happy, and supportive will reassure a child. If things don’t go well, retreat and try again later or another day.

I Don’t Know & I Don’t Remember Top Wish Lists

Posted On December 20, 2010

Filed under Christmas Cheer, Holiday Gifts

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Santa has been meeting with lots of children recently at home parties, business events, and special celebrations. After we chat for a little while about school, activities, etc., the important question comes up — “What would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas this year.”

Many children are ready with an answer. Some have one or two things to request. A few have lengthy lists. But the vast majority respond with “I Don’t Know” or “I Don’t Remember.”

I can understand the latter answer a little. The big time comes to meet with Santa to ask for that special gift. But nerves take over and panic sets in. Heck, even Ralphie, who was all-consumed with his lust for a Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, blanked completely when the big question came. Sometimes I have to resist the urge, when a little one is struggling to remember, to blurt out “How about a nice football?” So far I haven’t succumbed to the temptation.

Now I will offer some silly suggestions. Depending on the age and personality, I might suggest Baby Alive for an older boy, a briefcase to take to the office, a Kirby vaccuum cleaner, new drapes for the living room, etc. It often gets them giggling enough to loosen the memory chip and an answer appears.

I have a much harder time understanding “I don’t know what I want for Christmas.” What’s happened to our children? Have we become such an indulgent society that kids want for nothing? Do they have everything they could possibly desire? Or is it just a lack of imagination?

Many years ago, even I was a child once. And Christmas presented that one opportunity every year to ask (and hopefully receive) that one, otherwise unattainable treasure. That item so expensive, so rare, so unique that Santa was the only source. In my family we could ask Santa for two BIG gifts. So it was important to choose judiciously and wisely. You wouldn’t get another chance for a whole year. Even your birthday didn’t hold the promise of the “Santa present.”

The research began early — with the arrival of the Sears Christmas catalog. What a thrilling day! Maybe only Christmas itself surpassed it for excitement and anticipation. The iconic catalog was filled with page after page of toys, games, play sets, dolls, bikes and gadgets. Yea, there were pages of clothes and shoes but they never got read. Hours and hours, days after day, we would scour the pages, comparing items, narrowing the list, weighing the merits of each choice.

Often one decision came quickly and easily…it was the #1 item on the list. For me, it was found on the back cover or sometimes the inside back cover. That’s where the huge play sets of buildings, people, animals, and accessories were found. The only challenge was deciding which set to go with this year — the farm, the fort, the military base, the downtown village, the Indian encampment, the firehouse? But the decision usually came quickly, often the same day the catalog arrived.

The second Santa gift decision didn’t come until the final deadline arrived. That finally came as we were heading off to see Santa or we had to write out letters to Santa. If it wasn’t for that event, we might never make a decision.

But we did. No way were we leaving the two biggest toys of the year up to chance. If we didn’t ask now, we had to wait another whole year for the chance again. So when Santa asked, “What do you want for Christmas this year?” we knew. And we made sure Santa knew too. And he always came through on Christmas morning.

Busy Time for Santa Has Begun

Posted On December 16, 2010

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Just finished up a busy week with four business events, two company parties (one adults and one with families), and one home visit with a photo session.

The business appearances are always fun especially when people, kids and adults, don’t know you’re going to be there. I love the look of surprise and the double-takes you get when they first see you. The little ones’ reactions range from a squeal of glee with a full speed sprint to give me a bear hug around the knees to a blood-curdling scream of terror with a full speed sprint as far away as possible. Elf Meghan thinks the latter ones know they are on the naughty list and don’t want to face me…hx3ol (that’s ho-ho-hoing out loud).

One job I sometimes get at a business is waving to traffic on the street. It amazes me how many people toot and wave. Some even turn around to come back for another look. Last Saturday I was a little nervous I was going to cause an accident. I was right near an intersection with traffic lights. A few times people would be looking at me and waving as they approached the red light. I was sure somebody was going to rear-end a stopped car. How do you explain that one to the police? “It was all Santa’s fault, officer. He waved and I had to wave back. I couldn’t risk being put on the naughty list.” Of course Santa wouldn’t have been anywhere in sight — I would be sprinting like the naughty kids. Then the question becomes “Sir, have you been drinking a little to much eggnog? Could you step out of the car please.”

The home visits are usually the most rewarding. Most of the time it’s to deliver presents, pose for photos, and just talk with the children. Seeing the excitement when St. Nick shows up at the front door is a treat. In their own domain, the kids are usually much more comfortable. Often I can just let the children lead the conversation. And having photos taken with Santa in your house in front of your Christmas tree is so much better than a picture from the mall.

This week I have a couple of business appearances but mostly private house parties, either neighborhood open houses or family gatherings. Usually they are larger groups with many children so I don’t get a chance to interact as much. But it’s still fun. At the longer events I will read a story or two to the children before we have our one-on-one time. I’ve found it works as a good icebreaker and gives the apprehensive ones time to size me up and get comfortable before sitting on my knee.

I wish I had more events this weekend to fill in the time between the ones scheduled. The busy, back-to-back days keep me energized and focused on being in character. So if any of you are having a gathering this weekend and would like Santa to drop by, give me shout.

Visit us at www.ImSanta.Org, on Facebook (Santa C. Kringle and Santa Claus ImSanta Org), Twitter (Santa_ImSanta) and Windows Live (Santa Claus ImSanta.Org).

What are the kiddos asking for this Christmas?

Santa can use all the help he can get picking the right toys to put under the tree Christmas eve. What are your little ones asking for this year? Are traditional toys still on the list? Or it hitech and electronics all the way?

Leave a comment and help Santa fill the sleigh with the right gifts for good boys and girls.

Are you hunting the elusive Zu Zu Pet Hampsters?

Word is this is the hot gift this Christmas and will be in short supply. For those on the hunt, you might find this article helpful.
 
The Must-Have Zu Zu Pets Toy Hamsters and Tricks to Locate Them This Christmas
By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Heather_Renee_Lazzaro]Heather Renee Lazzaro
 
Have you tried telling your child the Zu Zu pets toy hamsters are sold out and Santa has a waiting list? It wasn’t that effective huh?
Every year parents get the old one-two knockout with a new must-have toy that sells like wildfire while the price skyrockets. These new zu zu pets toy hamsters are no different than every other child fascination that they love for a few weeks and toss to the side but like any other parent you will want to please them for the holidays.
 
The manufacturer says where to buy them and of course they only send each store a specific amount; this creates the frenzy especially around the holidays. Your best bet is to always try ordering online first. There are several reasons to search online versus in the stores.
 
    • 1. Most online vendors still do not charge taxes so you can purchase these Zu Zu pets toy hamsters cheaper minus the taxes.
    • 2. Most online vendors are providing specials like coupons, discounts for shopping at their stores, especially during this approaching holiday season. You can also get free shipping during this hurried time.
    • 3. By searching online vendors you can easily seek out those who still have stocked inventory of the Zu Zu pets toy hamsters; it’s more convenient than walking the malls searching for the toys and you get to compare prices all in the comfort of your home.
So what happens when all else fails and you still can’t locate the infamous new Zu Zu pets toy hamsters? Start searching on Amazon; right now this is the only website beside maybe eBay that you can find them in stock. If you do not want to be stressed out in a bidding war for the cute little hamsters, then Amazon is the place to go.
 
You can also try joining forums and parent groups to inquire about Zu Zu pets toy hamsters. Many parents who know all too well the must-have scenario you’re in will be happy to help you if they know of any in a store close by.
 
Finally, the desperate who must locate this particular toy for their child can place an advertisement on Craigslist. It’s been done before so don’t be ashamed.
Visit [http://www.zuzupetstoyhamsters.com]Zu Zu Pets Toy Hamsters for more information about the new must-have toy for this 2009 Christmas Season!
 

What do the kiddos want under the tree this year?

What are your children hoping for under the tree this year? Are there new games and toys that will be hot this year? Any old reliables on the list?
 
Share what Santa should bring this year so we can step up the production at the North Pole.

Favorite Christmas Gift This Year?

The big day has come and gone. The pretty packages have been opened. Exchanges have been made, batteries inserted, and assembly completed where required. Now Santa begins his research for next year. What gifts were hits and which were misses?
 
What was the best gift you got this year from Santa or anyone else? Tell us a little about it, who gave it to you, why it’s special, or what makes it your favorite.
 
Share your thoughts!

What was Your Best Gift Ever from Santa?

 
Santa is pretty busy this time of year reading letters and checking wish lists. Who’s going to get what?
 
Electronics are certainly hot this year — Wii, Rock Hero, Nintedo DS, cell phones, iPods, and all the accessories. Hannah Montana, Kung Fu Panda, Kit, High School Musical and the Jonas Brothers are all popular. And for the twins Aiden & Paul, it’s a Cal-Cu-Lator! (Check out the SNL sketch if you missed it — http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/calculator/866362/)
 
Then there’s the series of Lexus television ads with kids praising "The Best Gift Ever" from years past. (You can catch them on YouTube — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29w1g-6LxpQ)
 
It all got me thinking about gift from the past — back in the day.
 
What was the best present you ever got from Santa? What made it so special? Was it something you asked for or a complete surprise?
 
Let’s enter the "Way Back Machine" and share some memories from Christmases Past.