life wonderbunnie

From The Past, Mon Dec 8, 2008

Santa Is A Scary Dude
Current mood:  warm

So yeah, as an actor I do all sorts of weird & wacky & wonderful gigs.

The last coupla Saturdays, I’ve been Elfina, one of Santa’s little helpers.

And, as I’ve watched and witnessed many little wide eyed children meeting Santa for The First Time… I’ve realized, that Santa is Scary.

Seeing Santa is sort of an unspoken rite of passage for kids.
Goin’ up there, letting go of mom or dad, and sitting on his knee is a Big Deal.
Showing the world that you’re independent and okay with seeing the allmighty Santa, hanging out with the Dude himself, hey, that’s a big step.

It always makes me laugh though> Me an’ the other elf have started doin’ a Countdown to Terror …. Watching the kids stand calmly in line with their parents, some of them fairly dancing with excitement to see Santa. Eyes bright and shining, they are SO EXCITED!!!!!

But then, something happens. The reality of what they are about to do, the enormity (I mean,this guys’ huge. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, man. He knows when you threw your neighbours neatly stacked woodpile all over the yard!! HE knows!)

You can countdown the steps to Terror…..9,8,7 closer to Santa, starting to hide behind their parent’s hand….6,5,4 getting an expression of worry….3,2, starting to cry and desperately yanking their parent back…. and ONE!!!!

Full blown crying and freaking out!! It’s awesome. And terrifying. They flip and flop like a fish outta water and sometimes they almost get dropped. The parent laughs and scoops them up and Santa laughs in a Ho-Ho-Ho It’s okay kinda way.

So yeah. Santa is a scary dude.

He is!!
A big, hairy, fat guy in a brilliant red suit that your Mom or Dad FORCES you to sit on! AND he’s a STRANGER!!!

Think about it! What adult do you know that would do the same thing??

It’s traumatic. Go ahead. Cast your mind back, if you haven’t blocked it out of your memory already….
 All done up, hair brushed, good dress (or suit) on. It’s after supper and you are sleepy and full. Standing in line with your parent, holding their hand, hot and itchy cuz the mall is too hot and your best outfit is made of 100%, pure grade spoky polyester.

(‘Spoky’, for those of you that don’t know, is the word for Scratchy and Poky and applies well to polyester jumpsuits from the 70’s).

So there you are. Standing on Santa’s doorstep. It’s complete with a gingerbread roof and and red velvet stantions. And you’re all excited….. you’ve written out your list, you’ve got it all planned in your head what you’ll say….and then, the kid in front of you goes up…and you’re…

Oh god. It strikes fear in even the most jaded of 6 year olds. Suddenly, it’s just you and the fat man. You can see where the beard doesn’t quite reach under his nose. And suddenly, it strikes you. This isn’t the real Santa. It can’t be. How could somebody as colossally busy as Santa HAS to be this time of year be sitting in that chair at the mall ALL DAY?? Whoa. It dawns on you…this … this isn’t SANTA….it’s a stranger.

Suddenly you’re cold. Your palms sweat. Your knees won’t unlock and butterflies are doing ballet in your tummy. You turn back, to hide behind your parent but they’re over by the Elf checking out the picture packages available. You look desperately but they’re not looking at you. You nervously look around for escape routes; but the only one is behind the Not-Santa and you gotta get by him first.

Oh no, oh no oh nonono. The kid is obviously winding up his list, Not-Santa’s reaching down to hand the kid a candycane, the dismissal of choice for all Mall Santas…… Oh please you silently beg. Please let him be selfish and list more stuff he wants! Let him remember to ask for his brothers and sisters please please…..but no. The moment has come.

It’s your turn.

One foot in front of the other. Half way up to the chair; you freeze. It’s as if the world is silent except for the refrain ‘he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…..’  echoing through your head.
HE KNOWS. This GUY KNOWS WHERE I SLEEP???  Wait… wait… no. This guy isn’t reallllly Santa. He can’t possibly know.

So you keep walking. Up those three endless stairs. He leans down towards you, and two big white gloves reach down to pick you up.

After that it’s a blur of mumbled half-replies and sliding in the limpy way off his knee and skedaddliing out the back way. Safe with your hand in Mom’s….you head with her to the Sears to get your dad his annual Christmas slippers. You glance over your shoulder, back to Not-Santa’s Castle.

Suddenly, you notice you are clenching a slightly-crushed candycane in your hand.

‘Bastard.’ You think.


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