Christmas is a special time of year when us parents take stock of where we are and wonder why the hell we are standing in a mile-long line to drop our child on the lap a strange man with a long record of breaking-and-entering into people’s homes when we could be something much more fun instead. Like plucking our nose hairs with a binder clip. This is exactly what was running through my mind when Mr. Candy and I ventured to a popular Los Angeles outdoor mall called the Grove the day before Christmas Eve — no time like the last minute! — with Miss Skye all decked out for her photo shoot with Santa, only to draw a ticket with the number 21. We looked up at Santa’s cottage to check out the electronic monitor, which flashed “666.”
“Huh. It must be broken,” Mr. Candy observed.
So I approached one of Santa’s Helpers, dressed in the traditional North Pole attire of a mini-skirt and fuzzy boots.
“How does this, um, work?” I asked, gesturing to all of the chaos.
“We’re currently on number 666,” Santa’s Helper explained, pointing to the electronic monitor. “When it gets to 999, it starts all over again.”
“So the monitor up there works?” I asked, still confused, looking down at our ticket.
“And the wait time is…? Mr. Candy asked, also confused.
“Four to six hours.”
That sound y’all heard a couple days ago? The sound resembling a sonic boom? That was the sound of our jaws dropping on the ground.
666. This wasn’t Santa’s Cottage. It was SATAN’S LAIR.
We rolled our eyes and marched on out of there, propelled by our indignation. 300 kids in front of us? This place sucks! Are they f*cking kidding us?
And that was just Skye’s take on the situation.
Frustrated but not defeated, we arrived at another mall as soon as their doors opened the next morning at 9AM — only to be informed that Santa wouldn’t arrive until 11AM. Apparently, Santa had partaken of too much eggnog the night before. LUSH.
We had plans later in the morning, so we had no choice but to return to Satan’s Lair. No tickets this time, just a good old-fashioned one-hour wait in line where we plied Skye with fruit smoothies and the freedom to play with Daddy’s Blackberry — lord only knows what kind of texts she sent to Mr. Candy’s colleagues, but hopefully they’ll just assume he was drunk texting (always good for the career!) — to keep her in good spirits. “The wait could be even longer if a celebrity shows up! They go right to the front of the line!” Santa’s Helper chirped, at which point I may or may not have suggested to Skye that she dump her fruit smoothie on Santa’s Helper’s fuzzy boots.
And… finally! We arrived at the velvet rope.
“h/o brb,” Skye texted the CEO of Mr. Candy’s firm as we stepped inside the mysterious and magical and exclusive cottage.
After ALL of that…? This is the picture we got:
Hope everybody had a wonderful holiday!
Candy, Mr. Candy and Miss Skye