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Pint-sized fans, parents welcome Santa Claus' arrival at Victoria Mall

By Camille Doty
Nov. 19, 2011 at 5:19 a.m.
Updated Nov. 20, 2011 at 5:20 a.m.

Taylor Franklin sits on Santa Claus' lap on Saturday at Victoria Mall. Taylor was the first in line on the day of Santa's arrival.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

Come have breakfast with Santa Claus at the Victoria Mall, 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Saturday Dec. 11.

Taylor Franklin was the first in line to see Santa Claus at the Victoria Mall.

On the other side of the shopping center, other children were on a sugar rush from the free holiday cookies as they waited for the one who would grant their wishes.

Taylor's mother, Crissy Franklin, had a strategy.

"We wanted to beat the crowd," she said.

The family arrived about 20 minutes before Santa's 2011 debut.

This 6-year-old DeLeon Elementary School student wore a festive red dress and black boots. She could have been one of Santa's little helpers.

Taylor had only one request for St. Nick. "I want an iPad," she said.

Some children had their list ready Saturday morning. Others were working on it while they waited. The requests were as unique as each of their personalities.

Chloe Jordan, 5, wanted to ask for a Dora costume and a pink wig. Logan Berger, 6, would like a shotgun, although he's not sure whether he's on Santa's naughty or nice list.

A few hundred Crossroads kids and their loved ones filled the shopping center halls to rally in St. Nick's welcome.

Rosanna Shoemake, property and marketing manager, said Santa Claus has visited Victoria since the mall opened in 1981.

"It helps to kick off the Christmas season and gets the kids excited," she said.

Santa will be making his list and checking it twice at the Victoria Mall until Christmas Eve.

Shoemake said about 5,000 children visit Santa Claus each year. She said the numbers are tracked through giveaway bags. This year, hopeful children will receive a Kaleidoscope.

Master of Ceremonies Gary Moses had the inside scoop on the beloved figure's whereabouts.

"I hear he (Santa) is very close," he said. Shortly before Santa arrived, Moses started chanting, "We want Santa, We want Santa," and the fans followed suit.

Instead of walking to the sleigh for pictures, this Santa was chauffeured in a Smart Car. The Victoria Strutters served as his entourage and later danced for him. Dancer Katlynn Balli said it's their way of welcoming Mr. Claus.

This 16-year-old Victoria West High School sophomore didn't have a list to give him, "I want it all," she said.

As far as Taylor's concerned, an Apple tablet will suffice. Her 12-year-old brother, Tyler, was too cool to wait in line, but he still wants Santa to bring him a Teacup Chihuahua.

Taylor said she is on Santa's good list and is hopeful that Santa will make her holiday dreams come true.

"He should bring it," she said.

Her father, Todd Franklin, wishes Santa would communicate. "I think he needs to call first before he commits to it," he said.

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