Friday, December 19, 2014

Totally Texas -- Santa says: Love comes back to you

NorthPark Santa

8687 North Central Expressway (Central at Northwest Highway)



I started a Christmas scrapbook for my now eight-year-old grandsons. The first page includes a picture of their first photo with Santa, aka psychology professor Carl Anderson, who’s been the face and voice of the jolly old elf at NorthPark mall in Dallas now for twenty-five years.

I’ll admit, sometimes we’ve visited other Santas, but none beat Santa Anderson, as the crowds of kids and parents who show up to hear his daily storytelling can attest.

Despite how busy Santa and his elves are getting all the toys made before Christmas, “sometimes we take a break,” he confided to his audience this week. “But we don’t take coffee breaks. We take story breaks.”

And so he launched into this year’s holiday story of “The Old Woman in the Vinegar Bottle,” but not before asking his audience’s help at crucial points in the story about a person who’s too busy wanting things to enjoy what she already has.

And to further help Santa in his mission of bringing joy, he passed along ideas for how even children could bring joy by giving out smiles, waves, hugs and greetings. “When you give love, it comes back to you.”

It will be good advice to remember as we stand in line for visits with Santa, lines so long his helpers give out numbered (free) tickets for the privilege. Although ticket giving starts at 9 a.m., I was warned that the secret to getting a ticket as soon as possible is to arrive early. NorthPark opens at 7 a.m. to let exercise walkers in. Take your coffee or stop by the in-mall Starbucks, which also opens early, and find spot near Santa’s little storybook house on the first level near Macy’s with the other parents and grandparents eager to snag low-numbered tickets to hang out one on one (or two on one, in my grandkids’ case) with Santa. While you wait, check out Anderson’s blog, on your Smartphone for an extra helping of holiday warmth.

Don’t forget to smile and wave, but hurry. Because when Santa leaves NorthPark on Christmas Eve, he’s gone until next year.

Santa story times are 10:30 a.m. today, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, and noon Sunday (with no storytelling on Christmas Eve). Individual visits are 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. daily except Sunday and Christmas Eve. Sunday visit times are 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Christmas Eve visits are from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

There’s no charge for visits unless you decide to buy professional photos, but family members are welcome to take their own pictures.

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