The Opiate of Santa 

Was it an illusion? Was I awake? I felt the sun on my face and I opened my eyes. The clouds in the sky were a pink I'd never seen. One looked like a French horn, and it played the most beautiful music. I sat up and looked out across the field of red. A unicorn darted in and out of the mass of poppies, and there he was, riding it. The fat man. Santa.

Then there was another, and another. I smelled burning wood, and noticed the fairies dancing around the bonfire. There was another Santa there. And another. I started sweating, and snow fell from the sky. I woke up. I think.

Item N§ 32

Santa arrives, via the 24th Annual Ukrop's Christmas Parade.

Specs: Saturday, Dec. 1; 10 a.m. to noon. The parade, which features some 80 entries, travels east from the Science Museum of Virginia to Seventh Street.

For more: The Comcast Character Lunch follows the parade at the Richmond Marriott, 1-3 p.m. $15/child, $20/adult, $155 for table of eight. Buy tickets on through Nov. 29.

Price: Parade is free.

Item N§ 33

Legendary Santa at the Children's Museum of Richmond.

Specs: Nov. 23-Dec. 24; 2626 W. Broad St., next to the Science Museum of Virginia. While you're waiting, see The Genworth Foundation's Holiday Village, featuring a variety of festivals celebrated at this time of the year.

Price: Free.

To order: 474-7000, or

Item N§ 34

Santa at Short Pump Town Center.

Specs: In the food court. Purchase photos with Santa through Dec. 24. Also featuring the mall's 50-foot holiday tree. Other characters stroll the mall each weekend: The Gingerbread Boy, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Frosty, Toy Soldier, a Dancing Tree and two of Santa's Elves.

Price: Free.

To order:

Item N§ 35

Santa at Regency Square.

Specs: Through Dec. 24.

Featuring: Have your pet's photo taken during Santa Paws Pet Photo Night, Dec. 2 and 9, 8-10 p.m.

To order: Schedule pet photos at 855-0105.

Item N§ 36

Santa at The Shops at Willow Lawn.

Specs: He arrives Nov. 23, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in front of Old Navy. Have your pet's photo taken with him (dogs and cats only) on Sunday, Dec. 9, 6-8 p.m. at Old Navy.

to order:

Item N§ 37

Santa on the big screen.

Specs: "Santa vs. the Snowman" plays at the Science Museum of Virginia's IMAX Dome, 2500 W. Broad St.

To order: For show times and prices, call 864-1400 or 800-659-1727, or visit

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