Santa Makes Annual Appearance at Mall
For Santa it's in the surprises as much as it's in the smiles
ANCHORAGE - For Santa it's in the surprises as much as it's in the smiles. That's why before every shift he pulls as Santa at the Mall at Sears, he stops by Denny's in full Santa garb and hands out candy canes. "Their eyes get as big as dinner plates!" he said. Not that seeing him in the mall on a busy holiday shopping day isn't enough.
One boy was literally bouncing after their brief interaction and discussion on his Christmas list. Ayden was excited, wearing a festive red shirt and and reindeer antlers headband. "That was so awesome!"
The excitement can be overwhelming. One four year old girl jittered before sitting on Santa's lap. "My skin got itchy!" she said, because she was nervous.
But one kid's celebration can be another's fear. One little girl cried at the thought of sitting on Santa's lap. Her mom encouraged her to sit just for one picture, but she refused. Santa said that comes with the job. But he said he can usually get them to take a picture by giving them a candy cane or just a smile and a nod. One way to distract them--he wiggled his boot with bells on it. "Do you hear that?" he'd ask the kids. "That's Santa's reindeer on top of the roof!"
One boy said he couldn't see them from inside the mall, but he had noticed reindeer from the parking lot. Young Haylee Apland wasn't surprised by much the reindeer do, including a tendency to appear and disappear. "They have reindeer magic," she explained.
Apland also knew that this Santa man at the Mall at Sears might not be do doing all this work alone. "He's all over the world!" she said. Since there's apparently more than one man involved, she covered all of her bases before the holidays. She visited the mall and wrote a letter.
Santa didn't directly address the question on multiple Santas. All he said was, "Santa definitely has helpers."
Santa was also used to cynical questions. He said that he gets kids questioning if he's real. He pulled at his beard: "My beard's real." He pointed to his stomach and said it shakes like a bowl full of jelly. Then he pointed at his eye and asked, "Do you see that twinkle?!"
He said this approach doesn't always make kids believers, "but it leaves them confused."
Santa has over a dozen reindeer, but he doesn't have a favorite. He likened choosing a favorite to a grandparent having a favorite grandchild. "They all do their job," he said.
He does have a favorite Christmas movie -- "The Santa Clause." He called it realistic. "Anyone could fall of the roof and become Santa," he said.