Mall lighting is going to be tricky, generally SUPER warm in my experience (I travel around and shoot a lot of mall stuff for a client). So just keep that in mind (I don't know if gels are too much for a beginner) with re: to what you end up doing with your lighting. Yes, one large umbrella and a monolight would work, but don't be afraid to get a decent speedlight instead. The monolight will have to deal with AC power (or DC if you have $$$) which means cables, which could mean trip hazards for kids/patrons and liability. (edit: I just saw it wasn't being held at a mall but church, in which case you should go scout and see what the lighting is like and what they're using there and adjust accordingly)
For portraits you likely won't be shooting quickly so you shouldn't need the super fast recycle of proper strobes. From what I remember the kid sits on Santa's lap, smiles for the camera, and one shot taken. Wash, rinse, repeat. I think even a Yongnuo, a pair of triggers (3 just in case you need backup), and a large shoot through umbrella would work. 2 would be easier and depending on your personal taste maybe better.
I recently went through the same thing, needing some sort of cheap and lightweight lighting for fill on location. Ended up with a used Yongnuo speedlight (apparently everyone is recommending them, and my impression so far is that they're pretty good for the price), 2 pairs of wireless triggers, and a collapsible octobox. Total spent: maybe $62 and change. Already had a lightstand and umbrella mount for flash though...that could be at least another $30 if you go the cheap route, or much more if you go "quality".