Who wears boots and a suit of red? Must be … lots of guys

The boys went to see Santa last night, and it all went smoothly, with the possible exception of The Younger being utterly stone-faced in his $25 portrait.

The guy playing the man known as Santa looked convincing enough, with the possible exception of some overly waxy white eyebrow pencil.

But he made it past the curious glances of an overjoyed five-year-old, who was busy citing a bizarre list of toys (“scorpion robot”?!), and the glum scrutiny of a two-year-old, who was rendered completely motionless and expressionless by the  experience.

Today, I’d like to send a little message to the boys from the onscreen Santa at the Portable North Pole (http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home), but I just don’t want to chance it. The five-year-old is astute enough to catch on, that, hey, that’s a different guy.

I imagine in the old days, say, 2007 and before, no one had to worry about such things. You merely had to avoid department store-hopping so your kid wouldn’t see many, many Santas in two square blocks.  Now we need to worry about them studying the guy in close-up, and possibly using facial recognition software.

And what do I do with the old shot of The Toddler Elder and Claus that’s in our office? That’s certainly not the guy we saw last night. Or the guy we saw last year.

Some parents are obsessive enough to make sure they get the same Santa worker in their photos every single year, but part of me really wants The Elder to wake up and catch on.

But, hey, I’m not leaving him any clues.

He’s gotta figure this out for himself. –Jillian O’Connor

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