For many families it’s a tradition to get their child’s picture taken on Santa’s lap. But at NorthPark Center in Dallas, the holiday ritual takes on a deeper meaning for some families, and even for Santa.
It’s because he is a Santa that spans generations.
Long before Santa starts to make his rounds to visit little boys and girls, he spends time at his cottage at NorthPark Center.
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Santa takes time for pictures and hears their Christmas wishes. It keeps him quite busy.
“In a way I don’t have my own Christmas, but I’m also in the middle of a heck of a lot of Christmases,” Santa said.
A lot of Christmases that have spanned a lot of years.
Chris Jones visited Santa this year, a little too big to sit on his lap, like he did 31 years ago.
“It’s really special,” Jones said.
Special because his children now have a picture on the same Santa’s lap as their dad.
“It’s just been a privilege to be able to come back here year after year and see the exact same Santa and experience that with me and my family and now my kids,” Jones said.
“We call those second generationers,” Santa said.
After 31 years of visiting NorthPark, Santa has a lot of magical reunions.
Gresham Meek has visited Santa for 29 years.
“I swear he looks the exact same as when I was a little girl as he does now,” 29-year-old Meek said.
Meek and her daughter Kaki now both have photos on the lap of the same Santa, wearing the same dress, 29 years apart.
“I definitely remember coming back year after year with my three other siblings,” Meek said. “We always made a day of it.”
Families get to leave with a memory that lasts for generations. But Santa gets a little gift of his own.
“Mostly, I guess it comes down to the joy and excitement that they exhibit and the families do too, and that gets passed on to me and makes me feel great,” Santa said.
As the little ones grow into adults, Santa has seen their Christmas wish lists mature as well.
“Just for a healthy family and health for the friends and family and to just have a good 2020 and come out on top,” Jones said.
But over 31 years Santa’s message to all remains the same.
“Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everybody,” Santa said.