Every year since Carl was born, I have been taking him to a nearby garden store called Bachman's for their annual Christmas show with Santa and his elf Albert. The show is 20 minutes long, musical and a wonderful way for kids to see Santa live in action, but not just by sitting upon his knee.
I began taking Carl there with my friend Andrea, a dear friend and girl scout leader from junior high and her then 10 year old daughter. At the beginning her daughter Heather came along on the premise that she could see me and my kid, as she was old enough to really understand "The North Pole." As the years passed by and Gus and Louise were born, it became very important to Heather, Andrea and I to go and see the show the day after Thanksgiving, eat dessert in the lovely tea room called Patrick's French Bakery, and watch the kids with their growing fascination (and fear) of Santa.
Andrea passed away this year after a long struggle with colon cancer. She was a very dear friend, like a big sister, a woman I could ask any question. She is greatly missed. We picked up 15-year old Heather the day after Thanksgiving to bring her with us to the show. We talked about her mom a lot, but also about the importance of traditions and special friends. The kids love Heather. She loves them too. I hope to continue the tradition with her for many, many years to come.