What better place for my three-year-old son to meet Santa for the first time than at The Plaza tree lighting? The Plaza, a true icon of New York, is a magical place in its own right. My husband, son and I were invited to the Tree Lighting Tea at the Palm Court for yesterday evening, where Santa was scheduled to turn on The Plaza Christmas tree. We all shared the Snowflake Tea, a platter that features gingerbread and candy-cane-cookies in addition to the usual delicious scones, and waited for the big man in red.
My son sat for a decent amount of time for him and then it became clear that in the interest of maintaining the civilized atmosphere of The Palm Court (even full of kids with the spirit of Eloise hovering above, it is always genteel), that he should go on a walk with my husband. And I think that my husband wanted to explore The Plaza, as he hadn’t been there in a while (he didn’t get to experience Gatsby mania at The Fitzgerald Suite or meet Betsey Johnson at The Eloise Suite).
They ventured down to The Plaza Food Hall where they spotted Santa just finishing up his shift (you can find him at his workshop there through Christmas Eve on Monday-Friday 12pm-7pm, Saturdays: 1:30pm-7pm, Sundays: 12pm-6pm; photos start at $29 and net proceeds are going to Volunteers of America-Greater New York’s Hope and Hearth Holiday Food Voucher Campaign).
Getting that first glimpse of Santa was very exciting for my son; we felt he was too young last year and even now seems somewhat dubious that Santa is really someone worth knowing. But we had talked it up enough that seeing Santa was still a thrill. When my son came back to the table he managed to ask, “Where’s Santa?” about 30 times in the next 10 minutes before Santa reappeared for the opening ceremonies.
Finally, the most famous bearded man began walking toward the Palm Court and he was accompanied by a giant moving fluffball. Santa was no longer the main attraction.
“It’s a monster,” he whispered in awe. Monsters are very serious business to the preschool set.
“Yes, but it’s a really nice monster! It’s a snow monster,” I assure him.
I didn’t really know his character, but I assumed that Santa would not associate with a mean monster. And this monster was smiling… I was just as surprised as my son. I had no idea that a monster would be at The Plaza. It’s not really the kind of place where you’d expect one.
They introduced Santa, who of course needs no introduction unless you’re even younger than three, and then the monster, who turned out to be The Saks Yeti! The most stylish snow monster in history, he’s been living on top of Saks for years. This is really his year to come out though and he’s the star of the Saks holiday windows. The Yeti has been seen walking up and down Fifth Avenue, and his plush likeness and biography are being sold at Saks.
Then Santa and the Saks Yeti flicked on the tree lights. The tree is gorgeous, naturally, and it’s designed by Saks with ornaments of the Sakes Yeti. We admired the tree, but we both just wanted to see more of the Saks Yeti. My son didn’t want to say hi to Santa, or shake his hand, or pose for a photo or tell him what he wanted for Christmas. (Guess I won’t be wating in that line at Macy’s this year!) But he did want pet the Saks Yeti. I think that Santa just sort of seemed like another grownup, while the Saks Yeti was like a giant dog-monster-snowman.
The worst part is that now I am kind of obessed with The Saks Yeti… I mean Santa is great and all but I think I need to see more of this furry monster too. Maybe it’s spending too muhc I just may venture to Saks to see if I can get another glimpse…