Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thankful Thursday: SANTA

 Ben's mom does an excellent job of decorating for the holidays. When we were first really serious about each other in college and started visiting each other's homes over break, I was blown away. All the bedrooms! ALL THE OTHER ROOMS! DISHES-- everything. That's definitely the model we have gone with-- although her house is also really pretty/expensively done/tasteful, and ours is more like red and green joy vomited all over a carpet of toys. But anyway-- hers is a living Pottery Barn catalog that we are always trying to recreate (but make it sticky!).

One of the very best features is a collection of Ben and his sister posing with various mall and hardware store (LOL the 80's were a trip) Santas (Minnie calls them HELPER SANTAS), and I went to work curating my own Santa collection starting with Harry's very first Christmas.

Last weekend, we went to Zoo Lights and saw Santa-- his 18th visit. I told him he's off the hook now, and my first collection is complete!! I am so thankful for this fun tradition and kids who will humor me til the end.

Behold the adorableness:


2007 (Impending big brother-dom and he had NO IDEA)
2008 (Look how squishy they were!!)
2009 (in their jammies, fresh off a Picture People photo shoot— anyone else remember that mall gem?)
2010 (I was SO ANNOYED that Jack got scared and made us join in) (I am HOLDING MY CAR KEYS)
2011 (Another baby!!)
2012 (Harry’s smile! LOL)
2013 (Cooper! They’re losing him!)

2014 (Santa loves scared kids, apparently)

2015 (This is not just a mall; it’s a PEORIA mall)
2016 (Oooooh I hope Dorothy’s outfit will fit Minnie this year)
2017 (Not even SANTA is looking at the camera!!)
2018 (my dad, a reliably soft touch, bought everyone those necklaces at Zoo Lights, and how could that have been his last Christmas, you guys/??)
2019 (can you even believe the whole world shut down just MONTHS later?? Also I was  barely pregnant with Minnie and keeping it a secret)
2020 (yard Santa!)
2021 (yard Santa redux!!)
2022 (triumphant return to the mall Petri dish!!)
2023 (18 years of Harry and the big guy)

Zoo Lights was a BLAST, even if the kids DID punch the heck out of each other in the Santa line, and we had to ride the merry go round so many times I got dizzy and wondered if I have a brain tumor.


  1. Anonymous6:09 AM

    (This is Suzanne/Life of a doctor’s wife) OMG - 18 years of Santa pictures!!! This is amazing! And so fun to see all the little babies!

    Lol at your description of Pottery Barn but make it sticky.

  2. What a treasure trove, Sarah! Love the pivoting to "yard Santas" during the pandemic.

    (My dad is a reliable soft touch too, I'm glad we've had that softness in our lives.)

  3. Zoo Lights! I bought tickets for some at the Milwaukee Zoo and I'm going to see if my husband will buy me those light necklaces. He's probably not as much of a soft touch as your dad was. What a lovely way to commemorate the holiday season each year with those photos.

  4. SO. FUN. The pictures and the descriptions were priceless.

  5. Wow, that was fun to see your family through the years. The 2014 photo is hilarious, and I love how you improvised to keep the tradition going during the Covid years.

  6. You inspired me years ago to display all of my Santa pictures, and it's now my very favorite part of decorating! Last year I thought we might have lost it with all my teens/tweens and some VERY strong feelings about the picture we framed, but this year that same kid (who shall remain nameless but rhymes with Blydney) took it upon herself to make our Bass Pro appointment. I would opine that Picture People is to young midwestern parents as to Bass Pro is to California Christmas

  7. Would you believe my kids have never been to see Santa? Phil's cousin dressed up as Santa one year at the Christmas Eve celebration. Paul would not even be in the same room as him. Taco was VERY suspicious. But outside of that, they've never seen him. My boys are SO SENSITIVE and I think it's be a SCREAMING kind of photo. I know some parents like those/find them funny but I don't (you do you, no judgment here). I asked the boys if they want to see Santa this year and Paul is a HARD PASS but Taco is maybe open to it. But I find it unlikely he'd get close to Santa if we went so we will probably skip it.

  8. Wow what a great Santa gallery through the years. Such a treasure.

  9. This is awesome in so many ways. SO many ways. My family did not do anything similar - I don't think we even have 5 pictures with Santa over the years. This, though - this will be a treasure forever. :)