Location: Heritage Park, Calgary

Dates: Every weekend in Dec. until Christmas

Hours: 10-12 & 1-3 p.m.

Cost: Gate admission ($8 for adults and $6 for kids). 50% off coupons are available at Safeway.

We had a little incident with the Santa at Market Mall. It was nothing bad or anyone’s fault… just happenstance. Seems La Niña was feeling shy when she was sitting on Santa’s lap and he forgot to ask her what she wanted for Christmas. In the end, he didn’t ask and she didn’t tell and as we were leaving she realized that Santa wouldn’t know what to bring her for Christmas. And, when she tried to go back and tell him, he had left for his break.

I tried to tell her that Santa would know, but she didn’t believe me. This tortured La Niña for days and eventually she admitted that she didn’t feel good about Santa anymore.

Well… I couldn’t let an entire childhood of innocence end like that; that’s just not cool. So, with a little coaxing and a whole heck of a lot of luck, we stumbled upon Santa’s village in Heritage Park. Throughout our day at the park, we got small glimpses of the jolly man as he poked around the village and ate his lunch, but she wanted nothing to do with him. It was a day of, I don’t want to see Santa. That’s for babies.

Finally, as we walked by the red barn (Santa’s Village), I managed to coax her inside. Because it was late in the day, she was the only kid in the building and Santa gave her a greeting suited for old friends. He stood up, gave her a hug, and chatted with her like he’d known her for 8-years. She got another hug and she sat on his lap and chatted away endlessly. Then when it was time to leave, he gave her a high five, and she happily went into the kids only shopping area to do her Christmas shopping.

Her interaction doesn’t end here. As we were leaving the park, she saw Santa driving away in his car and they waved to each other. It was at this point that she said, That’s strange, I didn’t realize that Santa drove a blue Chevy. I thought he drove a sled with reindeer.

Ahhhh. The impracticalities of trying to land a sled in the city.