“We wish we had a better turnout, but we’ll just promote it more next year.”
Tyler Piliero, 12, ran ahead of his mother into the Arsenal Mall to investigate the Santa village set inside, happily clambering into St. Nick’s lap upon command and enthusiastically smiling as camera shutters clicked.
As Tyler returned to throw his arms around his mom, Newton resident Pamela Piliero, in an ecstatic hug, she urged him to show Santa his gift wish list.
He happily trotted back to Santa, showing him the page of paper where he had scrawled his need for items like a Wii basketball game, a Guess Who? board game, and sweaters.
“Anything you can do would be great,” his mom cajoled Santa conspiratorially. “He’s been great this year.”
As Tyler talked to Santa, his mom said that although this was not their first picture with Santa, she felt more relaxed at the special event than during the normally set times for mall photographs. “Typically, we’ll be really rushed, and there’s not enough time to make sure he’s smiling,” Piliero said, watching her son protectively out of the corner of her eye as he wandered the village set. “It’s important to us to have the time to talk to Santa, and he had a great smile in the picture.”
As Tyler returned to hug his mom once more, she beamed as she collected him in her arms. “And, we’re having a great day,” she said proudly, hugging him back.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.