Families get head start on holiday to-do lists with photos with Santa

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s an age old question: how early is too early to start getting into the holiday spirit? Whether you’re ready or not, Santa is actually already in Albuquerque.

The Cottonwood Mall kicked off its holiday season this weekend, Sunday’s main event was pet photos with Santa.

“I’ve brought my kids before, never dogs,” said Gina Garcia.

We’ve all seen children taking photos with Santa during the holidays, but at the Cottonwood Mall – your pets can too.

“We get people from all over New Mexico actually, not just Albuquerque,” said Debra Sherman, marketing director of Cottonwood Mall.

Some may say the first week of November is too early to start thinking about Christmas.

“I agree it is too early for Christmas shopping and all of this,” said Gina.

But for the Garcia’s, Christmas this year is – different.

“This was actually his dog. It’s kind of hard, but he gives us a lot of joy,” said Gina.

Gina lost her son Michael earlier this year — Bam was his dog.

“This is Bam, he’s a Chocolate Lab and he is 8 years old,” said Victoria Garcia.

It was Gina’s daughter’s idea to bring Bam with her own dog, Sparrow. Taking pictures with Santa is something they’re sure he would appreciate.

“I’m sure he’s laughing up there in heaven,” said Victoria.

“He probably thinks we’re ridiculous were ridiculous bringing dogs to take pictures,” said Gina.

Bam and Sparrow needed a little convincing during their shoot.

“It was a little tough, I think they got a little too excited with Santa,” said Victoria.

But their favorite snack did the trick.

“We have pepperoni this time,” said Victoria.

And the Garcia’s were able to capture a moment they will cherish forever.

“I got one with both of their tongues sticking out, and one of him smiling,” said Victoria.

Plenty of families were grateful to get a head start on their holiday to-do lists.

Cottonwood has holiday events lined up through Christmas Eve, including three more pet photo opportunities with Santa.

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