We kicked off our Christmas countdown on Saturday with a trip to the Festival of Lights at Oglebay. For the first year ever, we included a stop at The Good Zoo to see the outdoor light extravaganza orchestrated to holiday music and a laser light show!

CHRISTMAS! *jazz hands*

We also had the chance to rub elbows with the big man himself, Santa Claus.

We all know the years of excitement over Santa are limited and, my friends, the window is closing on Julia. Here she is, somewhat blurry (<---subliminal camera request message) and slightly embarrassed that I suggested she sit on his lap.

Julia and Santa

“He didn’t ask me what I wanted for Christmas,” she told me glumly.

“I’m sure he knows.”

But everything I say is suspect, these days, and must be verified before it is believed. So she wrote him a letter in which she asked for nothing really, because “all I want for Christmas is my family” and the answer to this question: Are you real? And she’d like some proof, please. She’s not swallowing that whole, “Christmas magic” line anymore. She studies science, you know. There is no magic, just illusion that can ALL BE EXPLAINED BY SCIENCE and SHE WANTS THE CHRISTMAS FORMULA! Then she made me Google his mailing address and take her to the post office so she could drop her letter in the slot herself. “NO, you can NOT do it for me!” Conspiracist! Mother of LIES!

Lucy, however, is 1,000% sure Santa is real and did not waste the opportunity to talk with him face to face about what she wanted for Christmas. She even put in a good word for Julia who, Lucy felt, didn’t represent herself so well with Mr. Claus. Here she is in poor contrast (<---subliminal camera request message).

Lucy and Santa

Finally, and surprisingly, Bee sat on Santa’s lap. She introduced him to every member of our family and told him about her candy cane. Here she is looking all washed out by the flash (<---subliminal camera request message).

Bee and Santa

And then we went to look at the model train, a boa constrictor, an armadillo and naked mole rats who sleep on their backs, stiff-legged, like they’re dead.

Christmas! *jazz hands*