Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's Goose & Other Wild Animals

As you probably know, my mom, the Grand-mère, is here. The other day we took the Littlest to the LeClerc shopping center where they have the most adorable Christmas displays with animated wilderness animals. There's a deer family with a spotted baby deer who lifts his tiny bottom as if attempting his first steps and then lets it fall again, content to stay under the watchful gaze of his mother. There are raccoons sitting on a bench, twisting and turning to some unheard raccoon music and my favorite; the cutest little red fox sniffing the shopping air across from the fancy lingerie boutique.
isn't that so sweet?
The Grand-mère noticed how so many of the small children like our Littlest were accompanied by grandparents; elderly Frenchmen with trimmed moustaches, pressed jeans and loafers, holding the small hands of their petite filles.

bunny family

'Daddy reindeer'
And in the middle of this winter scene sat the tiniest Santa I've ever seen. His stature was much slighter than the American and Irish Santas of Christmases past but then again, isn't Santa an elf? Who fits down a chimney? So maybe his smaller French version makes the most sense.
He was jolly, waving from behind his white picket fencing, his tiny face peeking out from an enormous white curly beard. As we got closer the Littlest pointed out that he had no mouth, it being entirely concealed by the snowy beard. I think this fact made the Littlest even less trusting. 'Where is his mouth, Mommy?' Hmmmmm....

French Santa was kind and patient and knew just what to do to make the Littlest feel at ease. He even spoke a bit of English as he explained what I should do: touch his finger with mine ET style and encourage the Littlest to do the same, sit on the arm of  his Big Chair and hold the Littlest on my lap, gently ease him closer to Santa and carefully leeeeaaaaan out to the side so I couldn't be seen in the photo.
And it worked. We got a few shots of the Littlest looking very skeptical as Santa smiled and waved and chuckled and all you can see of me is my stylish grey fingernails holding tightly and reassuringly to his tummy.

Next came Grand-mère's turn on Santa's Big Chair. She and her best friend have a little Santa photo tradition and so she was obliged to climb on up and wave and smile. The young woman taking the photos laughed and showed us an example photo of a French Grand-mere smiling happily from Santa's tiny lap. Did you see that? It was not a typo. I meant to write 'lap' and not 'Big Chair'.
keep wavin' Santa, let me see those hands
French Santa likes to have the Mamis sit on his lap. He waves and smiles and chuckles. And squeezes.

The look of surprise on my mother's face was priceless. I thought she was just embarrassed by being in the middle of a French shopping center while other Frenchies watched her sitting on tiny Santa's lap and getting her photo taken. Turns out her wide-eyed look was in response to the placement of Santa's white-gloved hands. Up, up and away went the right hand and scoochy, scoochy slide went the left. Oooolala Père Noël! Those rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes belonged to a frisky Papa Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the South of France, where even Santa is plein de verve.


  1. Ah, French men! ;-) Your post is cute, heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. Well done ;-) Love the look on grand-mère's face indeed! Still chuckling as I type this. Joyeux Noël Aidan. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  2. I didn't realize you were in the picture before reading what you wrote so I think Santa's trick was a success!

    I've been reading your blog for quite some time but never said hello. Hello :)

  3. I thought the photo of Littlest and Santa was priceless... but Grandmother and Santa... BRILLIANT! Naughty Santa! x

  4. Veronique,
    Thanks so much. And Merry Christmas to you and yours too. I saw a big packet of Carambar the other day and thought of you. I'll send you some if you send me your address on the down low at conjugatingirregularverbsatgmaildotcom.
    I hope you're not too homesick at this time of year.

    Merci and thanks for saying hello! You have no idea how happy it makes me to receive comments. Merry Christmas to you and yours and best wishes for the new year.

    I knew you'd like that. I think G-Ton would make a good Santa in his golden years.
    miss you.

    bisous a tous,

  5. Precious...too funny, a lovely report from the French front.
    Merry christmas to you!

  6. [BlogWalking] So cute... Nice post...


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