Spending all day in a grotto dressed as Father Christmas is having its toll. It was only a few weeks before this that I was somewhere a lot hotter. Now I find myself sitting in a freezing cold shed, spending time being that which I disagree with.
It’s ok, in my mind, to play along and to enjoy the Santa thing in the way that one might play along and enjoy messing about with Thomas the Tank Engine (He’s a very popular request, by the way) and pretend that the toy can speak and so on, but deep down inside knowing that it’s just a game. It seems not ok, in my mind, to propagate the lie that Santa really really is real. It seems, in my mind, a form of child abuse.
Yet, here I am facing child after child and living the lie, damnit.
It has been extremely cold. The grotto barely warms up, despite having within it a mock log fire and combined blower heater (also available for sale elsewhere in the premises), and the children are waiting in a line outside in the cold. They are sheltered from rain but not from the cold or the winds. Children are coming in blue with the cold and actually shivering. This cannot be right. It cannot be good for them. But, hey ho, it’s Christmas and it makes waiting for Santa from the North Pole all the more authentic.
Today I saw a couple of twin girls. The first one wanted a drum kit. The second one wanted a drum kit. Not the same drum kit, but her own drum kit. Could they already play the drums? No. Why did they want drum kits? They’d seen them on TV and thought they looked fun. They had a plan to set up each kit at opposite ends of their main living room, so they could play together. The nod I got from the parent seemed to indicate that this plan was indeed a goer. Sod living next door to them, then!
Why do kids want Furbys? Surely they are a thing from yesteryear? Well, so’s Barbie and Lego this and Lego that, but they’re much in demand too.
My favourite child is the one, possibly on the edge of becoming a ‘disbeliever’, that looked me straight in the eye and enthusiastically asked for a pear and some grapes. She wanted to wake up in the morning on Christmas Day and see a pear and a bunch of grapes. Was she winding me up? How could I tell?
I played along commending her on the excellent traditional choices of fruit that Father Christmas used to deliver many many years ago. Was I now winding her up or had I fallen into some trap? How could I tell?
I felt so abused.