Thursday, December 22, 2011

Visit to Santa

Last week we took Charlie to see Santa at one of the large department stores here, Selfridge's. To commemorate it, I have a variety of low quality photos to share with you on the blog! These include our picture with "Terrified Santa" up above. 

In an effort to skip the lines, I shopped around online and bought tickets. We had a designated appointment time during Brad's lunch hour and I thought we'd go, let Charlie talk to Santa for a few minutes and have time to grab some lunch.

Um, yeah, WRONG. When you book tickets to see Santa, at least at Selfridge's, you are there for an experience and you are not leaving until you have had one. Oh silly ignorant Kara (Stupid American!) thinking this would be time efficient and quick.

Little did I know that LOTS of people had our appointment time! Just because the appointment times were only 10 minutes apart online did not mean you got your own. We did end up standing in line, waiting our turn to go inside the experience as a group.

I'm just going to call it "the experience" because I have no idea what else to refer to it by. It was like a theme park ride without the roller coaster. 

We went into a couple of different rooms, each for about 10 or 15 minutes, where a character in costume would talk to all the kids and show them different funny things about the rooms. These included buttons that make funny noises (from Santa's workshop, natch) and fake penguins wearing costumes. 

I remember one character being an ice princess, or something like that, but I lost track after that. They all kind of looked the same to me. Elves, I guess? We were in some frozen, ice covered grotto. Father Christmas' Grotto.

Before we went in, we were warned not to take photos, upon penalty of ending up on the bad list. However, nobody seemed to pay this any mind, so we snapped a few too. The lighting was dim, though, so none of them really turned out. And Charlie appears to have orange hair in most of them. 

After a painfully long wait peppered with filler activities, like sending your Christmas wish down a special tube, we were finally welcomed in to see Santa and his #1 helper/picture taker. And I finally told Brad to put up his iPhone or it was going to end up down the Christmas wish tube too.

Santa was maybe 30, but gave a decent booming voice. He took plenty of time with each child, which explained the long wait. He even spent a few minutes talking to the one baby in our group, who was there with his mother and grandmother and couldn't have been more than 6 months old. I'm not sure why they were there.

When you sign up for tickets online, there is a form that asks you what the child's hobbies are, their pet's names and what they want for Christmas. So both the check-in people and Santa asked about Zoe and Bobo. I have to say, Bobo's name in an English accent: hil-arious. Try saying it, all proper like. See what I mean?

Anyways, these strange people asking about his dogs seemed to really confuse Charlie. And Santa was a bit scary, so he mostly got shy and snuggled into my shoulder. But I was proud of him - he did manage to eke out his request for a fire truck, which he has been asking for consistently for 6 weeks.

We also managed to get Charlie in Santa's general vicinity for a photo by letting him sit in Brad's lap. After the picture was snapped, the head elf told Santa he looked like he was about to sneeze in the photo! Hmmm, not really. Does that look like sneezing to you?

It might be my favorite Santa photo, even above the one last year where Charlie looks absolutely terrified, just because Santa is so funny in it. I didn't even really look at it when we bought it. I handed it to Brad to scan at the office. There was no option at the check out to buy a digital file of the photo. Kind of a bummer.

After our photo, we walked out and had to wait in line for our photo and a person in a very large snowman outfit scared Charlie to death. I think Charlie was pretty happy to leave his Santa experience after that. Just toooo scary!

The whole thing took over an hour, so there was no time for lunch with Brad. Charlie and I ended up buying some McDonalds at the Bond street tube station. It was my first McD's visit since getting here. I note the following:
  • All the calories are up there on the menu board, which was kind of handy, but I mostly ignored because I was famished and really just did not care how many calories my McChicken had
  • The McChicken actually tasted like a chicken breast
  • They have not changed the milkshake recipe here like they have back at home, so it was yummy instead of too sweet
  • They had little mozzarella cheese bites to dip in marinara sauce on their holiday menu and Charlie thought that was awesome
So that was it. A big trip to Selfridge's. Charlie really hates Selfridge's because the two times he's been there, it's been extremely boring. For him. Not much of a shopper. In fact, he started to cry when we first walked in, thinking we were there to shop. We finally convinced him that that's where they keep Santa if he'll just be patient for 2 seconds!

I'll keep you all posted if Santa comes through on the fire truck. Frankly, he looks too terrified in the photo not to. 

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