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Santa vs. the Grinch

Santa wins with longer lines Saturday at Crossroads Malls

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Santa has his hands full as Wade Murray, 3 months, of Humboldt, works to get his own Santa hat out of his eyes Saturday while visiting Santa at the Crossroads Mall.

In the ongoing battle between Santa and the Grinch, Saturday’s skirmish at the Crossroads Mall went to Santa.

The children, who have everything under the tree at stake, along with the adults, who have their elaborate lighting displays at risk, voted with their feet.

“The line to sit on my lap was much shorter than the line for Santa,” Grinch said.

That just gave the Grinch more time for plotting and scheming. One never knows with the Grinch — nice at Crossroads, bad to the bone at home.

“I try to steal the kids to tell me what they’re getting,” Grinch said. “That way I know where to steal the good stuff.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Jazlyn Gardner, 4, of Fort Dodge, makes no bones about it, the Grinch needs to talk to the hand, not her Saturday afternoon at the Crossroads Mall. The Grinch, aka Amanda Peart, assured her she was a nice Grinch and her mom, Rosemary Gardner, said the same. “I don’t understand it,” Gardner said. “It’s her favorite movie.”

You read it here first folks, The Grinch is planning a series of burglaries and other acts of larceny with a rather unhappy little dog in tow on Christmas Eve. Fort Dodge Police and the Webster County Sheriff’s Department will both be on high alert.

The Grinch, portrayed by Amanda Peart, owner of Personal Expressions, was enjoying her Grinch role. Several customers got haircuts and other treatments — from the Grinch.

Avery Smith, 4, of Fort Dodge, was getting a Cindy Lou Who hairdo. Her brother, Holden Smith, 5, was getting something similar, in green.

The siblings were divided on which version of the Grinch they favored.

“I like the nice Grinch,” Avery Smith said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Mary Rivera, of Fort Dodge, works hard to get a smile Saturday afternoon while visiting Santa at the Crossroads Mall. "I love this," she said.

“I like the mean one,” Holden Smith said.

Santa was doing his best to have a positive influence on the Grinch. He handed out candy canes to all who visited him, including the Grinch, who seemed immune to the effects of sugar and peppermint.

“They haven’t sweetened the Grinch,” he said.

Santa, who is 987 years old, is partly baffled by new toy technology but also ready to embrace some of it, just maybe.

“I’m getting a lot of requests for the Nintendo Switch,” he said. “I didn’t even know what it was. I think it’s just a controller; I’m not sure.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Amanda “Grinch” Peart, owner of Personal Expressions in the Crossroads Mall, works on giving Avery Smith, 4, of Fort Dodge, a Cindy Lou Who hairdo Saturday afternoon as her brother, Holden Smith, 5, watches from the other chair.

“I do get a lot of kids asking for tablets,” he said. “Mostly yellow paper ones … none of them have gotten that yet.”

“We are looking at making our deliveries with drones,” he said. “The reindeer have been at it for so many years, it’s about time they get a break. If Amazon can do it, why can’t Santa. You might have to put your tree on the front porch though.”

There are several minor problems with the drone plan, and that’s dealing with the milk and cookies left out for Santa.

Can a drone pick up and fly a glass of milk safely all the way back to the North Pole? What if it malfunctions and drops a plate of cookies on someone’s Christmas lights?

“We’re working hard on that,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Jaylah Lundberg, 6, at left, along with Jabrielle Wilson, 7, both of Fort Dodge, visit with Santa Saturday at the Crossroads Mall.

The Grinch is also working hard on those problems, mostly looking for ways to hack into the drone control computer to make the cookie plates fall and the milk spill on freshly washed cars.

Never give Grinch your password … to anything.

One of Santa’s greatest gifts is his ability to listen to the wishes of a bazillion children, then remember everything they would like for Christmas, then get it to the right child in the right house.

He’s just that good.

“I want a mermaid doll,” one child said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Kristi Murray, of Paton, makes sure her son, David Murray, 4 months, has his shoes on just right Saturday as he visits with Santa at the Crossroads Mall.

“That’s a good idea,” Santa replied.

“I want a watch,” another said.

“A digital one or one with hands,” Santa asked.

“I actually have no idea what I want,” an older child said. “Clothes maybe.”

“Well,” Santa said. “Maybe a bologna sandwich then.”

For many of the children who visit Santa, it’s a whole new and first-time ever experience.

David Murray, 4 months, of Paton, was all dressed up for the occasion by his mom, Kristi Murray.

“It’s his very, very first visit,” she said.

She has fond memories of going to visit Santa as a child herself.

“I think I came here actually,” she said.

Santa will be continuing his time at the Crossroads Mall through Christmas Eve day.

The Grinch, however, keeps no regular hours, but may or may not return for a surprise engagement if someone can be found to post Grinch bail.

Santa’s Hours

Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with 45 minute breaks at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a break from 2 to 3 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 23: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with 45 minute breaks at noon and 3:45 p.m.

Tuesday Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour break at 12:30 p.m.