There was a Santa sighting in Hastings in October, but this is the real deal- Santa's workshop is set to open this weekend at Kalamazoo's Crossroads Mall.

I was at the mall on Tuesday and saw Santa's helpers (no, these were not elves, I looked for pointy ears) setting up shop. Although the stockings were not yet hung with care, the Christmas tree is decorated and there are presents under it for good little girls and boys. A gold reindeer stands guard over the big green chair where kids can climb onto Santa's lap and spell out their wants, desires and dreams.

So make the list and check it twice, bribe the kids to be not naughty but nice because just as the weather has changed and Winter has arrived in Southwest Michigan jolly old St. Nick is coming too. But remember, this is not the real Santa, only one of his helpers Kris Kringle is much too busy at the North Pole this time of year.

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