So last year was the first year the girls were willing to sit with Santa on their own. SUCCESS!!! I think one of the reasons is we finally found a FANTASTIC Santa. The first few years we did the REI family holiday party which was always lots of fun, but just a staff member dressed as Santa and they were primarily doing dog/Santa photos (you know those REI folk!!!). Then one year we did the YMCA which was a small step up but not great. THEN last year we went down to Kent Station and found the REAL Santa!!! First of all, they have a special house built for Santa and everyone lines up outside so when you go in, you get Santa one-on-one in a calm and quiet environment. Just look how it is decorated!!
And then you get to spend 5+ minutes just chatting with him. The girls were asking all sorts of questions and you never feel rushed or hurried. Madison wanted to know all about the reindeer and where they stay for the rest of the year. Santa gave such a thorough answer, that even Madison was satisfied. And Nora brought along a "Little Pet Shop" book to specifically show Santa what she wanted (much to the horror of mommy!) Then they finally get you sat down on the nice couch and take MANY photos to get the best one. The photo we got last year was so good, I think it is one of the best photos I have of the girls together. I wish I could keep it up and framed all year!
And then the final step is the "nose test" that Santa does. He presses on the girls noses and if it squeaks then he knows they have been good! Of course, the girls got the squeaks they were hoping for.
So, if you live in the area and haven't had your Santa visit yet, I HIGHLY recommend going to Kent Station. The only down-side is the possible wait. We only had 9 families in front of us but waited close to an hour for our turn. But it is so worth it, because you know that the kids are going to get quality time when it is their turn. And the girls were able to run around the plaza area while waiting having lots of fun.
BUT I would not recommend going if it is raining out, since there is no covered area for waiting. But maybe you would luck out and not have a line because of it!