The Santaland Express: Aaalllll Aaaabbboooaaarrrrdddd!!!!!!

Santaland Elves BigEveryone in New York City knows that if you want to see Santa, you have to go to Macy’s Herald Square store.  The big man arrives at the tail end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade and stays in this little transplant of the North Pole in New York City until Christmas Eve, when he leaves to make his appointed rounds.  We’ve been going to see Santa since my darling daughter was a year old.  When she was fifteen years old, she said “One more year, Mom.  It feels a little silly, but one more year.” She’s twenty-five years old now, way past silly, and we just go!

I’ve never enjoyed the early Christmas onslaught.  For me, Christmas preparations begin around December 21st.  I do my Christmas shopping, menu planning, house cleaning, gift wrapping, and everything else associated with the holiday starting then.  Our trips to Santaland usually take place the weekend before Christmas.  Right on schedule, we went to visit Santa: darling daughter, doting uncle, and I.

Arriving For Santa CloseupBefore the ubiquitousness of texting, we used to just stand inside the south-west corner entrance to Macy’s, the one by the Men’s Department, staring at the ticking digital clock across the street until the errant party arrived. Darling daughter would gleefully sneak up on doting uncle and scare the living daylights out of him.  It never grew old.  Now we just text:

Me:“We’re heading to the subway.”

Uncle: “I’m stuck in the tunnel.”

Daughter: “We’re waiting.  The munchkins are showing up in droves!”

Uncle: “I’m walking as fast as I can!”

Me: “If we don’t get up there fast, we’ll be stuck for hours!”

Yeah, we actually spell the words out in our texts.  That’s how we roll!

Macy's Christmas 006We make a mad dash to the elevators through the Men’s Department.  Santaland Up 001What floor is it again? Eight.  It’s the Eighth Floor! Santaland Up 002We get off on Eight, triumphant that we got it right as we gleefully spot the Santaland sign.  Santaland Express 001Twenty-five years of doing this and we got it right.  What a surprise!

Because we’ve done this so many times, our walks through Santaland are also a walk through Memory Lane:

Oh, look, the engine is new! Santaland Express 002 We step into the train, and check out the “scenery” passing by the “windows.”  Santaland Express 006That looks like Central Park!  We must be getting closer to the North Pole: Santaland Express 009I see polar bears!

Uncle: Why aren’t you bouncing up and down with the moving train?

Daughter: Because I’ve learned to keep my balance on the lurching subways!

Santaland Express 012Finally (not really), we “arrive” in Santaland. We make our way through the familiar route, noting the displays.

Is that new? Santaland Express 013Well, it’s always been there, but it used to have two faces, The Holly and The Ivy.  Santaland Express 016THAT’s new!  We never had a bakeshop before!

Santaland Express 019Look! They’re playing “A Miracle On 34th Street” at the train village movie theater! Santaland Express 022

The snow-people choir is new! Santaland Express 020

We’re getting closer!

Santaland Express 023I miss the “Naughty and Nice Meter!”

Santaland Express 029Oh, look!  Rudolph and Clarice on the roof, over there!

Meeting Santa 003Soon, we’re in the presence of Santa Claus himself and Meeting Santa 007darling daughter proceeds to whisper her secret wishes to him, as she does every year!

Santaland Express 052Our visit satisfactorily concluded, we adjourn to the TicTocDiner 002Tic Toc Diner on the corner of TicTocDiner 001Ninth Avenue and 34th Street for much-needed, and well-deserved, sustenance!  TicTocDiner 004Another successful beginning of our holiday merriment!

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