21 November 2008

Breakfast with Santa

"Where was Santa? Maybe his reindeer had been wheel clamped due to illegal parking...Mind you, if I was facing 200 hungry children I would raise the white flag in an instant!"

Recently No Worries (aka the wife) and I purchased tickets for our two daughters to have a breakfast with an ageing fat man who has a fetish for reindeers and sports a long white beard. The man in question was, of course, Santa!

We were told to turn up at the local shopping centre at 8.30 and then shortly after Santa would arrive and lead the children to the area where they would have breakfast and be entertained. It sounded like our gals would certainly enjoy this event.

The night before No Worries and I donned the flak jackets, got out the whiteboard and synchronised our watches. We would need to adopt a military style operation to ensure that our daughters got up on time, had a brief snack and then get dressed in their 'Christmas dresses' and reach the shopping centre on time. Also, I needed to ensure that No Worries was ready as she is a notorious late comer.

The morning came and, to my great surprise, everything run very smoothly. The girls woke up and were very quick in getting ready for the breakfast. Even more amazing was that No Worries also got ready on time! This surprised me the most as I could not recall when she had recently made an event on time. I suppose miracles do happen after all!

We reached the registration area at 8.30 for the breakfast and our gals got their wrist band that indicated their food order and that they had arrived. We asked the staff when Santa would arrive and was advised that he would be there at 9.30. This seemed like a bizarre situation as there would be 200 children who, by then, would be restless and hungry as most would have skipped breakfast at home for this event.

Strangely, the registration area was in the food court. Maybe the organisers were telling us all something! For most parents the wait was too long and their hyperactive children needed food. Fortunately for them, McDonalds and KFC were within feet of the registration area. The temptation was too much for most parents.

Meanwhile our gals were made of sterner stuff. They were keen to have their breakfast with Santa!

Looking down from the food court I could see the area where the breakfast would be taking place. All the chairs and tables were laid out and there were tray loads of food already waiting for the hungry children. This struck me as strange as it would be at least another 30 minutes before Santa arrived. Wouldn't the food be too cold by the time the children reached their seat?

I checked my synchronised watch. Already 9.30 had been and gone. Where was Santa? Maybe his reindeer had been wheel clamped due to illegal parking (It is NSW afterall). Or maybe he was doing some.....Christmas shopping!

Fifteen minutes later the fat man arrived followed by a brass band. Then all the children started following Santa (past all the shops) to the eating area. Santa must have been hungry as he was setting a cracking pace. I assumed he wanted to get pack to the North Pole post haste.

Within a couple of minutes our gals couldn't even see Santa - he was that fast! I decided to take a short cut and meet No Worries at the destination. Naturally, I was not the only person to think that as there were a large number of parents and their children already there. After a while No Worries and our youngest daughter turned up. By now it was chaos as the organisers had well and truly lost control.

Mind you, if I was facing 200 hungry children I would raise the white flag in an instant! Fortunately our gals found a seat next to one of their friends. By now it was 10am and still no food had been served. Both No Worries and I were getting hungry - and we had eaten breakfast.

Finally, the children were served food (albeit decidedly cold). The wristbands indicated the child's food order. However, these young hungry children were devouring whatever they could lay their hands on. Fortunately, our girls got their correct order and were impeccably behaved the whole time.

At this stage the entertainment started. There were elves dancing and singing, an ageing ventriloquist (who was quite good with his Jake the Peg impersonation) and Mrs Christmas (who didn't realise her mic was not working correctly - hence she was ignored).

Within the hour it was all over. I enquired whether there would be any photo opportunities with Santa. I was advised that there wouldn't be any chance of photos with the bearded wonder. It dawned on me then that maybe Santa wanted to put some horse racing bets on. After all, I assume he needed to pay the elves in the workshop back at the North Pole!

At the end our daughters received a present and really enjoyed the morning. They had a smile the width of their faces! After all the waiting and chaos the end result was very satisfying especially for the children.

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