Yes, we have Santa in Dubai. Actually there are quite a few and they come in all sizes and colors! Many of my friends have had their childrens’ schools and parties visited by what we call, “Tan Santa”. It’s pretty hilarious!
We decided to go with our good friends and their two daughters to Wafi mall which has a Scottish Santa in his Grotto… not a workshop or the north pole… a grotto. As an American my only connotation with a grotto is from the Playboy mansion. I had a mental picture of Santa sitting in his pimped out velvet chair, smoking an old pipe while wearing a red silk smoking jacket with a white script SC embroidered on the lapel. Scantily clad lady elves would be walking around with spiked eggnog in champagne flutes while snowflakes fall around them as a cloud of steam billowed out from the hot tub in the corner where Rudolph was hanging out. Needless to say my mental picture was WAY OFF! We pulled up to a cute little layout of two buildings and arts and crafts tables to entertain the kids!
Luckily we got there early before it opened, but still had to wait about an hour… it was worth it though. We were there to see Santa be pushed into the Grotto by his elf… and he even gave Leighton a high five. She thought that she was hot stuff after that. I think I even overheard her say to a friend that she would never wash that hand again!
Once we got into the grotto, aka a waiting area for the kids right before they see Santa, we hung out for just a few more minutes and then our big moment had arrived! We were certain what Leighton was going to freak out… like meltdown, sobbing, have to leave the line so you don’t scare the other kids kind of freak out. She had never had a meltdown like that, but I just knew that this would be the time and place for it to happen the first time. So, weeks leading up to seeing Santa I talked the big guy up telling Leighton how cool he is and how he will bring her presents IF and ONLY IF she told him what she wanted and sat on his lap. We even did Santa roll plays! Well, it must have worked because this is how it went down…
Santa's helper with the big girls
She was amazed by the Grotto!
The Secret door to the Santa room opens… oh, I haven’t mentioned that Santa is in his own special room with no windows so you can’t see him prior to actually going into his room. The anticipation is crazy for the kids! I am sure this isn’t allowed in the States because of what could happen behind those doors… it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. Anyways, we walked in to a cheery and hearty, “HO HO HO!” Then Santa asked the girls to come closer and gave them cute little dolls all while warming them up with some boisterous banter. He then asked Leighton, “what would you like for Christmas?” I look over and Leighton is literally chewing on her fingers, she was so nervous. I pulled her hand out of her mouth and he asked her again. This time she said in a tiny voice, “a bicycle…” Santa gave a big laugh and said he thought he could handle a bike for such a good little girl. Well, that buttered her up and she realized it was just that easy so she yelled out, “a DORA BIKE!” Then she yelled out louder and clearer “a PINK DORA BIKE... and CORBY WANTS A BLUE CAR!!!!!” I was so impressed that she had such confidence… you go little lady! Then we moved on to the pictures…. It had gone too smoothly thus far. I just knew this was when Leighton was going to start screaming. The photographer wanted a family shot first and then one with both girls if possible. Jon held Corby and I sat with Leighton as we took the family pictures….all went well. Then Jon handed Corby to Santa while I gave LC a quick pep talk as I backed away. “Just like we practiced, munchkin! Smile pretty, be a big girl, you can do it!” Wouldn’t you know it… she was doing it… I was so proud! Then I hear it… Corby crying… SHIT, I hadn’t prepped the 9 month old… DAMN IT!!!! So this is what we got!
We then took the little turkey out of the shot and got this ridiculously adorable solo shot of Leighton and Santa… I still am so proud of how she handled herself… such a big girl!
I can’t wait to see if Santa will follow through with those big orders that L and C are asking for, however I have a feeling after that great display at the grotto at least the eldest one is set!