Friday, December 19, 2008

Creepy Santa

It's tough to keep the Christmas spirit going. I forge ahead by feeding myself with sights, sounds and smells. This year I made a low-fat version of Christmas cake. All right, it's still heavy and rich - there's no escaping the candied fruits and nuts - but what I really wanted was my house filled with rich, warm smells. I also splurged on a real tree this year. Also for the smells. A fifteen dollar tree from Superstore, just a tad lopsided. He sits on one of my side tables, decked out in three seasons of silver globes, picked up at after-season sales.

A sight I could have done without is robot Santa at Wal-mart.

He sent me automatic greetings every few seconds, as I stood at the door, bundled up with my purchases, waiting for hubby to pick me up. Anyways, there's this robot santa standing above the seasonal racks. On schedule, he makes some spastic moves and mumbles something Christmas-ey. Thankfully, he is drowned out by the buzz and clatter of the shoppers. But we had those few creepy moments together as I waited for my ride.

Whatever was Walmart thinking?

I watched a documentary on Mall Santas last night, very well done. Here's a fine review. The director, Mike Sheerin , gives us to peek in to the lives of three Mall Santas who take their job very seriously. There's an exchange of kindness; all three men get something special from the lives they touch. A surprising flip side is the barrenness of their personal lives. When Christmas is all over, Santa is forgotten. I'm of a mind to pass on my thanks to these heroes of the human touch....on Boxing Day.

Meeting Santa is all about humanness and warmth. A benevolent stranger cares about me and wants to know how I am doing, what I most wish for. You can't get that touch from a machine. I'm all for technology when it helps. Sure, automate the check-out experience. I'd be happy to do that chore myself. But Santa can't be automated. He's a living, breathing symbol of care.