Santa Claus spent the day at an abomination of a grocery store, and he was BRILLIANT.

My wife and kids ran into Santa Claus at Stew Leonard’s last week. Stew Leonard’s, if you’re not familiar, is an abomination of a grocery store built to make the shopping experience as least efficient and least productive as possible. It attempts to capture some of the feel of an open market, filled with small, specialty shops (which is completely unnecessary) but instead feels more like a bastardized amusement park ride.

I went to this store once and nearly lost my mind. But my kids love it, probably because the only thing less efficient and less productive than Stew Leonard’s is small children.

But Santa was there that day, and it’s always nice to see Santa, and even nicer when it’s unexpected. Even if you’re trapped in an abomination.  

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Clara, my five year-old daughter, sat on Santa’s lap. Santa listened to her requests, and he told her that she needs to work harder at cleaning her toys.

“Did you tell him what to say?” I asked Elysha.

“No,” she said. “Apparently all five year olds can’t pick up their toys.”

I loved this Santa – maybe the Santa – both for scolding my daughter about the thing she needs to work at the most and for making me feel a little bit better about having a daughter who can’t seem to pick up a damn thing without being told to do so.

Santa’s the best. 

My younger son, Charlie, refused to sit on Santa’s lap. He was nervous. Probably didn’t want to be told to clean up his toys, too.

Actually, he’s already better at cleaning up than his big sister. Maybe Santa would’ve told him to stop wailing after waking up from a nap.