this morning we went to a mall close to our house. we actually both were not in the mood of buying or looking or fitting... but we went to the used bookstore, my favorite shop in the entire mall. you can get secondhand books for only 2 or 3 dollars; so thats how we fill our (free) bookcase!
wintertime started this night here in the US, a week later than in the netherlands, so we were too early in the mall! apparently it opens at 12, but we were there at 11... :) had some time to wander around and saw my first santa claus and enormous christmas tree! oh my, already?!! he is arranging himself in the best position in front of the camera; because here you can sit on santa's lap and have your picture taken! for only (ugh) 24 dollars you get 2 photos, or something. the lady taking the pictures looked up at us a little disturbed, when we were taking some pictures, and later i saw there is an explicit notice that you should refrain from photographing santa with your own camera. bbbuuuggghhh! santa was actively waving at all little kids coming by, but i didnt see anyone that wanted their picture taken (you could also get a keychain, or ready-made christmas cards....)
as you all know, of course, santa claus is phonetically related to the dutch "sinterklaas", which arrives somewhere in the first half of november, and leaves, while throwing around candy and presents, at the 5th (or was it the 6th?) of december... we also have santa claus, but we call him "kerstman" (christmas-man).