Christmas will be here before you know it and one major Christmas tradition is visiting Santa at the mall and getting a picture with the jolly fellow.

Tara was less than two months old the first time she visited Santa and she loved him. The next year, she wasn't so happy to meet him. Tara once asked me about the 'Mall Santa'. I told her that the 'Mall Santas' are helpers to the big guy in the red suit.

It's kinda like the 'Elf on the Shelf', except Mall Santas don't lose their magic if you touch them. Here are some secrets of the 'Mall Santa':

He's not an orthodontist. Don't ask him to tell your child why he/she needs to stop sucking his/her thumb.

He's not a puppy. So don't pet him like he is.

It's hard not to sweat in the heavy wool suits. To smell nice, they sprinkle baby powder in their beards or evergreen scented colognes.

Sometimes kid's requests can be over the top. I was disappointed when I was 2 years old. I had asked for a monkey and a banjo for my birthday and when I didn't get it, I thought for sure I would get it for Christmas. I was wrong.

However last year for my 52nd birthday, I finally got it...it was a stuffed monkey but I loved it anyway. Here's a video of my surprise.

They love kids, but their favorite are the ladies they visit at nursing homes. When they sit on 'Mall Santa's' lap they turn into kids themselves and their favorite Christmas memories come pouring out.

One year, I was a mall reindeer. Trust me, it's not as glamorous as you think.