Santa Claus comes to the mall
SANTA'S SCHEDULETell him what's on your wishlist at the Victoria Mall, 7800 N. Navarro St., through Christmas Eve.
Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
Sunday: noon-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m.
When flashing headlights appeared from the north, previously scattered kids flocked together within a matter of seconds to catch a glimpse of the man of the season.
Santa Claus had come to town.
The jolly round man squeezed into the round Debbie Green Bennett School of Dancing car for his debut at the Victoria Mall.
A trail of kids chased the car through the crowd, struggling to be the first to hug him when he got out.
From near the front of the line waiting to ascend Santa's red and green throne, Alyssa Renae Garcia tippy-toed above a white picket fence and waved furiously.
"Santa! Santa!" she beamed, trying to grab his attention among the crowd of about 500.
Alyssa was dressed to catch the eye of Old Saint Nick.
She wore red glitter slippers, a red velvet dress and a red bow.
"I love Santa because his jacket's red and his hat's red," the 5-year-old said before his arrival. She was appeasing her anticipation by coloring with a red marker and making crafts with red glitter. And yes, her favorite color is red, she said.
She added she would be requesting a Barbie house, and maybe some princesses, when she made it to Santa's lap.
Her grandmother, Olga Garcia, said they arrived at the mall an hour and a half early, knowing from past years the crowds make for a long wait.
Besides the flashy grand entrance, there were plenty of other activities keeping the crowd livened, though.
Crafts, giveaways, snacks and dancing performances distracted the well-behaved kids before their opportunity to proclaim good conduct before the big guy.
One dancer, 5-year-old Morgan Arguellez, said she was actually looking forward to performing more than she was Santa. But she has a lot to look forward to, she said.
"It's going to be Christmas, then another day, then my birthday," Morgan said.
"She's said she's going to let Santa know she's almost 6 because she doesn't want 5-year-old gifts," Morgan's mom, Michelle Arguellez, said.
Despite being in the middle of a quickly growing long line, Arguellez said she looked forward to the day, too.
"Just spending time with her," she said gesturing to her daughter. "It's my day off, so I like the family aspect of it."
So does Garcia, who now stood on the other side of Santa's seat, watching Alyssa whisper her wishes.
"I like bringing her here and seeing her talk to Santa - it's all about the children," Garcia said, looking nearly as excited as her granddaughter.
Alyssa jumped off the green velvet chair and came back to her grandma, seemingly having changed her mind when she came face-to-face with Father Christmas.
"I told him I wanted a bunny rabbit, and I wanted it to be pink," she said.