Mall Santa

Some people hunt out the ‘best’ mall Santa, others relish the pictures just for the memories of each Christmas. My favourites are the hysterical children screaming away while trying to escape the clutches of Mall-Santa. I’ve never been one to dress my kids up for big photo ops, never bought my boys a ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ onesie, and, frankly, I don’t like lines. And this year, with all the lines, this is one line I’m happy to skip.

santa with screaming kid 4
Photo: John Kim

Don’t get me wrong, the pictures – even the smiling face pictures are adorbs. I’m not a grinch, but I’ve yet to take my kids to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap and have their photos taken. We’ve been lucky enough in the last few years to bump into Santa at the parade or at an event so that my kids have had their Santa fill. But they’re getting to that age where they have questions – and frankly, so do I.

My 7 year old asked this year. “Mom, is Santa in every mall?”

I had to be straight up, but I had to preserve the sanctity of the big guy’s magic. So I lied. I told a lie that knew no limits. As every 7 year old does, my son had questions. And I came up with answers. Before I knew what had happened it got out of control.

Photo: Richard Elzey
Photo: Richard Elzey

My son now believes that there is one, and only one Real Santa. Just like Gru, The Real Santa has a huge number of Minions, but instead of little yellow fellows with blinky eyes, they’re made to look like The Real Santa. And yes, that’s where they got the idea for the Minions movie. And yes, they take notes and report to The Real Santa each and every day – who has been naughty, who wants what toy. No, not all of them have real beards, some of them are young and in training and will get their beards eventually, but since the population exploded faster than The Real Santa could raise his Santa-Minions, they’ll have to do. Yes, they all know Rudolph. Yes, if The Real Santa is ever sick, which has never happened, one of them might come to our home to deliver presents so he should be nice to every Santa-Minion he meets…

Oh, I’m in deep. My son is eventually going to realize I lied, and he’s going to realize the depth of my depravity. But not while he’s 7. Not on my watch. That web of lies I just knit may have been more for me than for him, but even my cynical side wasn’t ready for him to learn the truth and get that much closer to growing up.

Photo: Daveynin
Photo: Daveynin

So thanks a whole-heaping-lot, Mall Santas, for making me have to spin a tale so long and deep that I may never recover, all in the name of letting my little boy believe in Santa Claus for another year. I can only imagine what questions next year will bring.

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