Kathy Murphy Ayers has a tradition with her grandson Connor, an annual photo with Santa at the Westminster Mall.
It's been a six-year tradition. So has the Santa.
"Same Santa every year and his name — Kris as in Kringle," she said with a laugh.
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This year she knew the jolly old elf needed help because Connor had made a huge Christmas request.
"I wanted to get daddy on the list," the boy said.
U.S. Army Sgt. James Murphy has been stationed in South Korea for 18 months. He hasn't seen his son or wife since January.
On Monday afternoon the former surgical technician took his last flight out of Korea and went straight to the mall to surprise his son.
Kriss Kringle was in charge of the snow. The rest was a magical reunion — father, son and Santa.
Erica Murphy went live on Facebook to share the story.
"I wanted to hug, but it was Connor's moment," mom said.
There will be many more Christmases like this one. After eight years James Murphy is no longer in the Army.
He's headed to medical school to become a doctor.
Connor will take care of the downtime.
"I'm going to play with him everyday."