Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We came, we saw, we conquered Santaland

Thus read my husband’s Facebook status on Sunday evening. Yes, before it was even December, we got that Santaland shit done. A bit premature, you say? Try this on for size: we exited Macy’s 30 minutes after entering it. Man, that’s how long it would take you to find a freaking bathroom in the department store and we toured all of Santaland, had a one-on-one with the red-faced guy himself, and walked out with a glossy, perfect 8 x 10. And that, dear readers, is how you do Santaland.

The secret is simple, and I am ready to share it with you: you’ve got to go the weekend of Thanksgiving, preferably the Sunday, and you have to be there a few minutes before Macy’s opens. We’ve been doing this for the past four years and its worked like a charm. How did we come to unearth this little secret?

By trial and error of course.

One of my best qualities is my ability to learn from failure. It is for this reason that I try to fail frequently, and ideally, abysmally. Which is exactly what I did when Primo was one year old, and David and I hopped on the subway to 34th Street, the weekend before Christmas, and about noon. We ambled over to Macy’s, eyes a-gleaming (OK, only my eyes were a-gleaming, David’s eyes were a-rolling, and Primo’s eyes were a-glazed-over). When we entered the store, the guard at the door informed us that the line was about 45 minutes.

“Oh,” I said, looking over at David, “That’s not so terrible.”

“For the elevator to Santaland,” corrected the guard.

“You mean there’s a forty-five minute line to get to the floor where the real line is?” I asked, dumbfounded.


“And how long is the wait up there?”

He gave me a look which said, “I’m a security guard, not the tourist information booth,” but then he offered, “Hour and a half, maybe more.”

We got right back on the subway. Kid was too young for Santa visitation anyway.

But the next year, I was not only seven months pregnant with Seconda, I was smarter, more saavy. I was going to beat the system, because that’s what being a New Yorker means. Let the tourists wait for two and a half hours. I was going to do a walk-through. This is when the Thanksgiving day weekend visit to Santa was born.

On this particular visit, as we boarded the elevator to the Santaland floor, David looked at me and said, “I can’t believe we really do this every year/”

And I said, “I know, but we’ve only got two, three years tops, before you-know-what happens.”

Primo’s always listening and he is starting to get really good at spelling so its forced us to go into deeper code when we speak about the inevitable losing of faith in old Saint Nick.

“Yeah, its true,” he conceded.

“We’re making hay while the sun shines,” I explained, “striking while the iron is hot.”

“You don’t have to pitch it to me,“ David grumbled, “I’m here, aren’t I?”

Veni, vedi, vici . . . Terra Santa.