News and Features

Art&Seek Jr: Here Comes Santa Claus … Help!

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Last week was all about the tree-lighting festivities around North Texas. This week I thought we’d highlight a few events featuring the jolly old man himself – Santa Claus – also known as St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Sinter Klass and, of course, the Christmas Man.

I’m thinking she’d rather e-mail her list in. Photo: Krys Boyd

For some children, Santa is somewhat of an acquired taste. These kids are usually around 12 to 18 months old, and their first encounter with Santa is generally one of aversion — they’re the tots who scream bloody murder and bow their backs when you try to put them on Santa’s lap. Of course, if you look at it from the perspective of the wee ones, you can see how the big guy can be a little, well … off-putting.

Picture yourself being around 2 feet tall and one day you’re stuffed into uncomfortable clothes and dragged to a noisy mall where you’re taken away from mom and summarily placed on the lap of this pudgy stranger with wild, white hair, a ZZ Top beard and an atrocious red, velvet suit. Most of these kids aren’t talking yet, but if they could, they’d be yelling, “For the love of Mike, someone call CPS!” You can see why the whole ordeal of sitting on Santa’s lap can make some kiddos come a little unglued. But wait! Just when all hope of getting a cute Christmas card seems lost, at around 3-years-old, a switch goes off and suddenly they can’t get enough of Santa. You can’t explain it. Chalk it up to Santa’s magic.

Keeping the Santa aversion in mind, it’s sometimes best to ease into things gradually. Try one of these Santa-lite events on for size this weekend. It might make the Christmas card photo a little easier.

On Saturday at 10 a.m you can see Santa arrive by helicopter at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field. Lots of activities are scheduled for the morning, including building paper airplanes and paper helicopters. But here’s the best part: You can have your picture taken with Santa Claus and a special visitor from “outer space” OR, if you’d rather pass, you can have your picture made in the cockpit of an airplane.

Santa’s Village in Richardson is open for business weekends through Dec. 16. You can stop by Santa’s Workshop for a photo opt or just take a stroll through the cute little yuletide town and, if you like, stop and take part in a different activity at each dwelling.  There is also live entertainment on the main stage and sleigh rides.

Take a ride on the North Pole Express. Photo: Gila Espinoza

If you’ve got a kid who loves trains, you’ll definitely want to take a ride on the North Pole Express in Grapevine. As if the experience of a vintage train ride weren’t enough, the good people at the Grapevine Depot make it all Christmasy with caroling on-board, complimentary hot chocolate and, of course, a visit from jolly ol’ Saint Nick. Be sure to have the kids wear their PJs and to take a stroll around “Christmas Town” afterwards.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at tpowell@kera.org.