Long winter’s nap: Idaho mall Santa lulls infant to sleep

(Photo courtesy Sarah Pasley/Facebook)
This might be the sweetest Santa photo yet.

A woman's 2011 photo of her infant son, Kiptyn, meeting Santa for the first time has gone viral.

Last December, Sarah Pasley of Meridian, Idaho, took her then-8-month-old son to the Boise Towne Square to meet Santa.

"We stood in line for over 30 minutes waiting for our turn. Of course, 5 mins before our turn to meet Santa, Kiptyn fell asleep!! Part of me thought we should just get out of line & avoid wasting anyone else's time that busy Saturday, but as we went to leave Santa gestured us over. I handed Kiptyn to my Mom & grabbed my camera," Pasley wrote on Facebook.

"I was escorted outside of the fenced area in order to snap my own shots. What happened next will be one of my all time favourite memories of Christmas. Santa grabbed his book & slowly laid back into his oversized chair. He then silently motioned for my Mom to lay Kiptyn on his stomach. Kiptyn stirred for a moment and I thought he'd wake for sure. Santa hushed him & Kiptyn's little arms fell into such a peaceful position."

The resulting photo, of Kiptyn napping with Santa, went viral after Pasley posted it to baby clothing store Carter's Facebook page.

"After we finished taking pictures we heard a round of applause from the crowd that had gathered around below & above in the rotunda. I just wish this jolly ol' man could know how truly special he is. I can honestly say that I believe in Santa and the magic of the holiday season again. I'd just like for everyone to see how special the Santa at the Boise Towne Square mall really is," she wrote.

The mall's marketing manager, Tina Kierce, told the DailyMail that the same Santa is back this year:

"He is truly like that most of the time, he's extremely caring and compassionate with the children and that is not uncommon for him to do. We're very blessed to have him," Kierce said.