She hesitantly made her way forward, occasionally jostled by children both in front and behind her in the long line that meandered toward Santa.
Nervous, she kept her eyes on the jolly bearded man as he deftly lifted child after child onto his lap. He seemed to listen carefully, head tilted, as each one told him what they wanted for Christmas. His cheerful elf gave every child a large candy cane as they were helped off the platform, sending them on their way with happy smiles.
When her turn came, she balked and started to turn away, but Santa laughed and patted his knee, a distinct twinkle in his eye.
When she was perched on his lap, he asked, “And what can Santa get you for Christmas, my dear?”
“I really just want a photo of me sitting on your lap,” she said. “I thought it would be a really funny Christmas present for my parents.”
“I’m sure they’ll love it.” He faced forward, murmuring, “I know I am.” As she narrowed her eyes at him, he grinned, then brightly said, “Smile at the camera!”