The Santa at my mall this year is skinny. This is just all kinds of wrong. I found myself rather disconcerted and twice contemplated having a word with management. There was no way my kids were going to sit on his bony lap and whisper their Christmas wishes into his fatless ears- what kind of mother would I be to allow such a gross misrepresentation of our jolly Saint Nick to go unnoticed?
I pursed my lips and diverted our stroller in the opposite direction, holding my nose to the air. My kids were screaming, "Santa! Santa!" But I didn't care.
It was then that I was reminded of a scene in David Sedaris's memoir Holidays on Ice. In "Santaland Diaries" he describes working one year as a department store Christmas Elf. At one point his job is to usher in the families one at a time for their photo op with the Big Guy. Everyone has a complaint.
"We would like a traditional Santa. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about..." Or "Last year we were stuck with a chocolate Santa. Make sure it doesn't happen again." One woman actually complains that her Santa isn't "black enough," go figure!
I remembered this story and felt a little ashamed of myself for discriminating against an innocent old man who was just trying his best to spread some holiday cheer and pick up a few extra bucks while he was at it. So what if he's excrutiatingly thin? What's wrong with me?
So tomorrow I'm taking my kids back there for another go. In years to come when we're sitting around a fire flipping through old photo albums and sipping hot cocoa, they'll ask me what was up with the skinny Santa. I'll just tell them that that was the year Santa was stressed out because Mommy asked him to fix the subprime mortgage crisis. Oh well.
-- parkvogel.com / photo by Ville Miettinen