I have good news for all the kids in the Southern Tier, the Oakdale Mall Santa is back. My daughter, Tara was first introduced to the Oakdale Mall Santa when she was less than two months old and she loved him.

A year later, she wasn't so happy to see him and VOICED her displeasure for all to hear throughout the mall. When Tara got older, she asked me about the "Mall Santa." I told her the Mall Santas are helpers to the jolly big guy in the red suit.

He's kind of like the "Elf on the Shelf" but they don't lose their magic if you touch them. If you plan on visiting the Oakdale Mall Santa (or any other Mall Santas), here is what you need to know.

Mall Santa Secrets

He's not an orthodontist. Don't ask Mall Santa to tell your child that they need to stop sucking their thumb.  In "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", Hermey was the elf that wanted to be a dentist on the Island of Misfit Toys but that's about as close as it gets.

He's not an animal, so don't pet him like he is one.

Kid's requests can be over the top. When I was two years old, I wanted a monkey and a banjo for my birthday but instead I got a baby sister named Michelle. So I thought for sure that if I asked Santa for a monkey and banjo then surely I would get it.

Santa didn't fulfill my request but 50 years later on my 52nd birthday, I finally got it. It was a stuffed monkey with a banjo. I have to admit, it was worth the wait, so thank you, Bernie.

They love kids but their favorites are the ladies that they visit at the nursing homes. If you ever have a chance to witness this, you won't forget it. When they sit on the Mall Santa's lap, they become kids again. To hear them talk to the jolly man and share their favorite Christmas memories will bring a smile and a tear to your face.

When I finally retire, I think I would like to be a Mall Santa and listen to what the little ones have to say. After all, I've been told that I'm a kid myself. When I was in college, I was a mall reindeer, it wasn't as glamorous as I would have thought.

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