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It might be early in November, but Santa still have time to visit the Ice Palace at The Mall of University Town Center.
East County Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 7 years ago

Heater: 'Tis the season ... already?

Santa's season continues to stretch longer
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Yes, that was Santa waving to me from below on a Saturday trip to the mall.

I know that most of us think of Santa as someone who waves to us from on high, but this jolly, old fellow wasn't airborne on a sled but rather planted on a chair at The Mall at University Town Center.

Santa had to look up to see me, because I was on the second floor level of the mall, trying to absorb the Ice Palace that has been constructed near the information counter. It was, in a word, amazing.

The added kick this year was that "Peanuts" characters have been woven into the promotion in celebration of "The Peanuts Movie," which is now in theaters. Who doesn't love Snoopy?

Remembering back to my own childhood, when Santa usually had an office chair and five yards of red carpet and an Ice Palace was something in a tiny globe with rice floating around in the water, I couldn't help but be impressed.  It is, indeed, a new age in shopping malls.

The fact that it was only Nov. 7 just follows a trend that might eventually see stores converting shelves to Christmas before Halloween.

Children can enjoy the inside of the Ice Palace at The Mall at University Town Center.
Children can enjoy the inside of the Ice Palace at The Mall at University Town Center.

It was a week earlier that I was driving down Lakewood Ranch Boulevard at night when I noticed a home had its outside Christmas lights blinking in full glory. If you, like I did, grew up in the Northeast, you might be thinking that it's only fair. In upstate New York, I remember that Christmas lights used to adorn homes through the end of February. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact it was still a winter wonderland.

In warm weather climates, it seems that the Christmas season comes to a crashing halt on Jan. 2, with trees on the front lawn ready to be collected. So why not start earlier and enjoy the season for the same amount of time we enjoy in a cold weather climate?

And if we are going to celebrate early, why not do it in style?

Whether you are a kid who wants to put in an order for that special pleasure or romp though an Ice Palace that is just plain cool, or an older guy like me who just wants to look and smile, it's pretty darned cool.

So heck with the calendar and bring on the holidays.




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