Encounters with Santa Claus have been interesting annual occurrences for my family, particularly for my oldest son.
Earlier this month, we made our traditional jaunt over to Worcester Prep for its annual Christmas bazaar, an annual stop for us so we can get the kids’ pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
This is the fourth year we have been heading to the school to get this keepsake, as it marks the fourth Christmas for Beckett and the third for Carson.
It has been interesting to watch as Beckett, or “big boy” as he prefers to be called these days, has changed with each picture. Of course, he has grown up throughout the pictures, but it’s his reaction that’s most of note.
During the holidays, Pam digs out each photo from the previous years to display around the house, and it’s remarkable to observe the differences.
The first year Beckett was just 7 months old, so he basically sat on Santa’s lap expressionless in black overalls featuring a holiday reindeer.
The second year, Beckett was more aware but still not entirely sure of the entire Santa thing. He managed to squeeze out a half-smile for the camera while sitting on Santa’s lap, while Mrs. Claus held his little brother, Carson, who was 6 weeks old at the time and asleep.
Last year, his third encounter with Santa, he had a crying fit and a complete meltdown.
It was such a classic shot that it appeared in this space, featuring a screaming Beckett with his mouth agape, fists clenched and eyes shut.
Clearly, the entire situation frightened him and he wanted nothing to do with Santa and Mrs. Claus. In fact, once he was able to get off Santa’s sleigh, he sprinted for the door, continuing to scream along the way out to the parking lot before I could catch up with him.
In last year’s photo, Carson was staring off camera at something that caught his attention, while Pam and I were smiling broadly for the camera, masking our true feelings about the screaming kid we were bear hugging to keep from fleeing the scene.
This year was a completely different story.
Beckett had been talking about seeing Santa for a couple weeks and seemed anxious for a visit, but we still didn’t know what his reaction would be once he saw the jolly one on his sleigh.
It didn’t take long to get our answer. Before we could even look over picture options, Beckett had hopped up on Santa’s lap, quickly reporting what it was that topped his Christmas list this year. For the record, it’s a motorcycle.
Carson was excited, too, but in his own understated way. Rather than smiling from ear to ear and jabbering in Santa’s ear like his older brother, Carson merely sat in Mrs. Claus’ lap and stared at the camera like a good boy.
However, in his introverted way, Carson was having just as much fun as his extroverted brother, but neither of them enjoyed it more than their parents, as this year’s photo was a classic for us.
Since we shared last year’s photo, here’s this year’s.
From my family to yours, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.