Allie and Julia went to see Santa.
Julia sat on Santa's right knee. She didn't cry. She asked us with her eyes, "Why are you giving me away to this man? What have I done? For the love of God please give me a chance to make it right!" Allie was on Santa's left knee. Without the usual prodding Allie immediately rattled off four of the six items she had written on her Christmas list. Allie was shy, but nothing like last year when she barely managed to ask the big guy for an umbrella.
Deb and I got wise this year and brought our own camera to capture this year's confab with Santa. I took two pictures. One with flash. One without. I could tell Santa fought the urge to tell me my camera didn't flash. After all, he's Santa and Santa is nice. However he wanted me to move on and make room on his lap for kids with parents willing to pay $10 for a 5 x 8" digital portrait. Elves. Reindeer. Making the North Pole livable so Mrs. Claus doesn't complain so much. These things cost money. So I moved along.
As soon as we left Santa I took a look at the camera. It told me it's battery was about to die and decided to rewind the roll (two of 24 exposures). After developing I'm sure the shots will cost me about $15. They won't look as good as the one Santa's elves would have taken if we had let them. That still doesn't mean I'm going to let the elves take care of photos next year. This year was a learning experience. Next year I'll get the perfect shot. I'll take the film directly to one-hour-photo. I'll get back in line to see Santa. Wait. Then I'll show him my beautiful photo and say, "Kiss my ass, Kringle."
I won't be getting shit that year but it'll be worth it.