With Christmas fast approaching, we recently contacted several mall Santas to ask them what we can do to make their holiday more enjoyable. Here are some of the things we heard back from a few not-so-jolly St. Nicks:
1. Screaming Toddlers
: We know you've waited in a long line for the privilege of visiting Santa Claus, but unless you enjoy torturing your kids, don't place that screaming child on our knees. He or she is just going to cry louder when placed in a stranger's lap. Yes, we know it can make for "adorable" photos, but seriously. At least provide us some earplugs first.
2. Keep It Brief
: We live in a consumer society. We get that. But the next kid who recites to Santa the entire Toys R' Us catalog, is going to get a lump of coal in his or her stocking. Parents should instruct their kids to provide us with two or three requests, tops.
3. Don't Ask, Don't Tell
: Some mall Santas are virtual Chia pets,
able to grow an Abominable Snowman's beard in a matter of months. Others of us
are not as fortunate. Still, the same rule applies. Regardless of what's
happening elsewhere in the world, at the local mall authenticity of
Santa's beard remains a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" matter.
Example of a "Naughty Clause" exception.
4. The Naughty Clause
: One of the great things about being Santa is that all kinds of people want to sit on your lap. This is especially true with women, who seem to really enjoy telling Santa why they've been more naughty than nice this year. These confessions can really roast our chestnuts. But, ladies, unless you resemble Scarlett Johansson, we don't need to hear all the intimate details.
5. No Food (and Wash Your Hands)
: Do you know how much
a Santa suit costs? Well, they aren't cheap and it's not
like we Santas have a closet full of them back in the North Pole. So
please, no food while on St. Nick's lap. And if your kid has just
finished eating a candy cane, wash off those sticky little fingers.
Getting peppermint bits out of a fake beard is difficult enough. Getting
it out of real whiskers is downright painful.
6. Unwrap that Gift Beforehand
: Generally speaking, it's our duty
to deliver packages during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, many
toddlers also consider it their "dootie" to deliver Santa a package of
their own. Parents, if your kid has just crapped his pants, please
extend Santa the courtesy of changing his diaper before handing him off.
Rule of thumb: If you weigh as much as me, please don't sit on my lap.
7. Santa is Not a Truck Scale
: That is to say, we're not great at guessing weights. But as big as we are in our holiday fat
suits, we still have feelings. Specifically, we have nerves -- thousands of
them in our legs and knees -- that ring like sleigh bells when introduced to hundreds of pounds of pressure.
So, people, if you weigh in at more than 200 pounds (which many of you
do these days) please don't feel compelled to sit on our laps. We have Ms.
Claus for that.
8. Don't Over-Leverage the Christmas Miracle
: You want
to know the saddest part about being a mall Santa? It's listening to
kids rattle off items that you know their parents can't afford. We see
this all the time, especially in this economy. So, before seating your
kids with Santa, why don't you go over the list of gifts that your child
might reasonably expect from Santa. This way Santa doesn't come out looking
like an asshole, when you can't deliver.
9. Get Over It
: This ties in with No. 1 on the list, only for older kids. If your tween doesn't want to sit on Santa's lap for a picture, don't force her. We know you want to hold on to the belief that she's still a child, but no matter your intentions, your condemning the kid to social hell. 'Cause here's the deal: Somehow that photo is going to end up on Facebook.
10. How About a Thank You?
: Seriously, do you know how many people thank Santa Claus? It's less than half -- if that. One wonders why we continue to be so nice?