I’m one of those people who don’t believe the hype. The Christmas Hype, that is. It’s an interesting contradiction to my usual die-hard shopaholic habits. However, when this season-to-be-jolly-ho-ho-ho draws nearer, without fail, I start to feel ants crawl under my skin.
I dread the crowded shopping malls, the packed-to-the-brim car parks and the aggressive behaviour that stems from the blatant commercialism. So, every year, I avoid it all as best as I can. I do my mandatory shopping at the very last possible minute, and get the hell out of the rat race as soon as possible.
This year though, things will be a little different…times two. Some compromises had to be made in order for the twins to experience some yuletide joy. Hence, Hubby and I began laying the foundations for what will (and will not) be Christmas tradition for this family.
Naturally, the topic of “Photos with Santa” came up. Hubby was keen. I was not. All I could envisage was a cumbersome excursion to Westfield, fighting through the hoards of shoppers and suffering hours of waiting with crying babies.
More importantly, I don’t understand the meaning behind the whole Santa photo. I just don’t get it. Why would you have your child sit on a stranger’s lap, capture it on camera, pay for the evidence and then send copies to friends and relatives ?
Maybe it’s a cultural thing (Born in a predominately Muslim country, spending almost a decade in a Buddhist one), but I have no attachment to the big fat guy with the red nose and intimidating white beard. None. Whatsoever.
After some negotiation, I made a deal with Hubby based on the following:
- Photos – yes. But no Santa (Yipee !)
- In replacement of Santa, Hubby requested that the boys could wear Santa hats (Hmmm…okay)
- The photo was to be a family one, and made into Christmas cards (Excellent time saver…Total agreement from me)
- I got to choose what the boys would wear (Woohoo !)
- To miss the crowds, we would have to leave the house early to get to Westfield as soon as its golden gates opened (Ugh…)
Right on military time we headed out the next morning, feeling confident that we would beat the rush. We got to “Santa’s Wonderland” promptly at 10 am on a blah Thursday and to our astonishment…there was already a line.
To save me from the pain of waiting in line, Hubby assigned me with the task of searching the Santa hats while he grabbed us a spot in the queue. Off I marched to the Promised Land: Target.
Scouring the aisles, I could only find Santa hats that came with girls’ Christmas t-shirts (complete with bling and puffy sleeves). There was nothing for boys. And I didn’t have a choice to only buy the hats.
I gave a sigh of frustration as I encountered every retailer’s oldest trick in the book during Christmas; Don’t offer the customer options, make sure they buy at premium value… all within tight time restrictions.
But I needed those damn hats. Reluctantly, I bought the outfits.
Rushing back, I could see my husband was close to the front of the line. We were up. And it was at this timely moment, that in his booming voice, Hubby tried to explain to the tall, leggy, blonde “Santa’s Helper” that we actually just wanted a family photo…sans Santa. Was that possible ?
This created some confusion. Santa’s Helper, the photographer, her assistant, the guy at the register…all gave each other puzzled looks.
I was sure they all thought we had lost the plot when my husband continued with a long-winded excuse about how some of the relatives who were going to receive the Christmas cards, were very religious and a bit sensitive about the whole Santa thing…blah, blah, blah. The more he rambled, the more attention he was attracting from other shoppers. All he had to say was: “This is my crazy wife’s idea…”
Eventually, Santa got the hint. As he got out of his sleigh (actually looking a little lost and not knowing what to do with himself), Hubby apologised profusely. I told the man in the red suit and the fake beard that this was a good time for him to take a coffee break.
And that’s how we booted Santa.
So, here’s the end product. You will have to excuse the crappy “photo of the photo”. To get the digital copy was going to cost us an extra $22. (Whatta typical only-during- Christmas-friggin’ rip off !)
Yes, you can call us cheap skates…