When we arrived at Tower City, I was pleasantly surprised to see it hustling and bustling and not the ghost town it has been in past years. After walking around all the levels and checking out some real fancy suits and shoes, we headed downstairs to the area where all the activity was taking place.
Back in the 80's when Higbee's Department store was still around they had the Twigbee shop for little kids to go shopping without their parents. There was also the famous "Twigbee Bear", which I had a stuffed version of and LOVED. Higbee's is long gone, but they brought back the shop and the bear mascot so we decided to let the kids do some shopping for Bill and I on their own. I filled out the papers with the max they could spend ($20 total) and off they went. Bill and I settled down in front of a really cool show about the history of the Terminal Tower and in a flash they were done shopping. I'm really looking forward to the gifts, as they shopped in about 3 minutes the total came to $7 for both gifts. They wrap them for the kids and they are already placed under our tree.
On to the Iventionasium. I had no idea what to expect so it was total sensory overload when you first walk in. Think Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory overload. It was AWESOME! The colors, decorations, characters, it was all so cool. The kids were a little freaked out, but Nolan warmed right up after getting his lab coat on. Reagan took a bit longer, but in the end she came around just fine.
They stopped at several stations to do activities, drawing on chalkboard walls, create a crazy puppet, make snow, and build a toy to present to Kris Kringle.
He leaned in and whispered in my ear, "You are with Nolan, right?"
Um. Yes. He is my son.
"OK, you are having a very special visit with Kris Kringle in his super secret private office through the pink door behind you." ( The door I hadn't seen anyone go in or out of during the whole time we were there.) "When I put my finger up to my nose and jingle my bell three times, then you know to go to the door."
So we waited a few more minutes and in the meantime my imagination was working in overdrive, what if there was a great glass elevator behind door #2 or better yet some fizzy lifting drink. Hell yeah, I'm going to drink it!
Finally "Boysenberry the Elf'" lay a finger to his nose and jingled. He opened the private door for us and the kids gasped and smiled at the awesomeness of being in Kris Kringles private office.
So did I, because there sitting on an ottoman in front of me WAS SOMEONE I KNEW, BUT NEVER KNEW HE WAS SANTA.
Sure it was always joked that he SHOULD be Santa. He has the white beard and he is short and round. I'd met him several times through our friends Andrew and Catherine when they lived in Cleveland. I haven't seen him in more than 5 years and he has never met our kids. Maybe everyone else except Bill and I knew he was Santa, who knows and who cares because it would have ruined the surprise I felt.
It was a truly magic moment that brought tears to my eyes.
I don't know if it was luck of the draw that we got diverted to door #2 or if there is a roster that the Santa's look over everyday and request to see (or not see) certain families. What I do know is that it was the most magical moment of Christmas that I have experienced as an adult.
After our visit, we were all starvin' marvins, so we headed down Euclid Ave. to Noodlecat. It was the first visit for all us and it was so fun. Nolan ate Ramen like a college kid on a bender and Bill and I ate more steamed buns than humanly possible.
Pretty darn perfect day if you ask me.