The new sound of November: Ho! Ho! Ho!

Patrick Murphy, 3, of Moorestown, has a chin-wag with Santa at the Moorestown Mall.
Patrick Murphy, 3, of Moorestown, has a chin-wag with Santa at the Moorestown Mall. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 11, 2013

It's not even Veterans Day yet, but guess who's coming to town.

That's right. Santa Claus.

Although November is usually associated more with turkeys than elves, Santa Claus has begun appearing at malls across the region in a sure sign of holiday creep.

On Friday night, he arrived at the Montgomery Mall in North Wales on a fire truck. Across the river, he paraded through Gloucester County's Deptford Mall on Saturday morning.

And at the Moorestown Mall a little later, Santa got a warm welcome when he arrived in a limousine with Mrs. Claus with an entourage that included Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost, elves, and a nutcracker.

An excited Erika Dorsett, 6, of Mount Laurel could not wait to ask ole Saint Nick a few questions. "Where are your reindeer? How do you get down all the chimneys?" Erika said she wanted to know.

Erika, 7-year-old sister Paige, and her mother, Sara, come to the mall every year to welcome Santa.

"It's never too early," Sara Dorsett said. "This is the one holiday we can start in October and I'd be happy." The Dorsetts' Christmas tree has been up since Nov. 2, by the way.

Christmas songs played as children took pictures with Santa, got their faces painted, and decorated ornaments. Seven-year-old Ashley Barrett threw her coat to her mother to hold while she danced to the music.

Stacy Barrett said she does not usually bring her daughter to see Santa so early, but Ashley could not wait and is even willing to relocate to see him more often. "Can I live with you?" she said she wanted to ask the man in red.

Tom Turkey was there dancing to the music, too, but he was largely upstaged by Santa.

"It's a bit early for us," said Todd Robinson of Moorestown, who was at the mall for his daughter's 12th birthday. "We want to get past the Thanksgiving season first."

That doesn't bother the Gsell family.

"I've given in to celebrating for all of November and December," said Michelle Gsell, of Cherry Hill. "I stopped fighting it and just embrace it now."

She and her husband, Mike, came to see Santa with their children, Michael, 2; Matthew, 3; Cassie, 11; and Daniel, 13.

But seeing Santa early does have its dangers, which 3-year-old Chase Schenk experienced firsthand.

"He thought he was getting the toys today," said his uncle, Bill Schenk of Philadelphia, who came to the mall with Chase and Chase's mother, Nancy Schenk. "He was pretty disappointed when we told him he had to wait until Christmas."


mbond@philly.com

610-313-8105 @MichaelleBond

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