So I decided to do it old school when it came to Christmas presents this year. And by that, I mean I went to visit Santa. Not just any Santa, Santa at Macy’s on 34th Street in New York City.
The streets ticked by slowly as I made my way there. 14th, 23rd, 29th. And finally, 34th. I looked up and turned my head, looking for something to tell me where Macy’s was. And in huge shining lights there was the sign: Believe. I know that ultimately that sign is just there to get me to buy more sweaters. But of course my stomach turned with nostalgia because it made me think of the look on Mara Wilson’s face when she pulls Santa’s beard and realizes it’s the real deal. (Yes, I am a child of the 90’s so I am referencing the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street.)
The inside of Macy’s was just as bright and filled with sparkly people. Like these gals:
To see Santa I had to go all of the way up to the 8th floor! I took the old wooden escalators up. When I got to the 7th floor I could hear them–the kids waiting for Santa. Pretty soon I could see them, too. I wound my way around until I found the back of the line. A sign told me, estimated wait time: 30 minutes. Could be worse, I thought.
I had purposely come in late morning on a school day. I understood there would be a line either way, but still, what are all of these kids doing out of school to see Santa?! I can guarantee you, it was a thought that never crossed my parents’ heads, to take my brothers and me out of school to see Santa. My mom didn’t even pull us out for dentist’s appointments if she could help it. She waited for parent teacher conferences when we had days off. It was always thoroughly disappointing.
Anyways, I waited in line with all of the kids and their parents. I smiled at the elves wearing striped socks and green suspenders. What is this lady doing in line with all of these kids? Maybe they wondered that. I just smiled. The line inched forward through the North Pole. The family in front of me stopped to take pictures every few feet. And finally, there I was, next in line. The elf who was delegating at the front of the line commented that I was wearing Santa’s favorite color.
A different elf came and told me Santa was ready for me. He led me around a few corners to Santa’s house. I passed through a doorway and there was Santa, white beard, glasses, and all, sitting on more of a wooden bench than a chair. In the room now it was just me, Santa, and two elves. “Oh, looks like we have a big kid!” Santa said. I sat down next to him and, of course, told him what I wanted for Christmas.
It had been a while since I’d seen Santa. I think the last time was at Leawood South Country Club when I was ten, maybe. I had forgotten how brilliant Santa was; he’s pretty brilliant. Before I left I asked him if we could take a selfie. He said, “Of course! Ho ho ho! But up here we call them elfies.”