Photograph by Ellen Von Unwerth
If you're in your twenties, then you probably haven't seen Santa Claus in action since you were wearing Oshkosh.
Watching Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Chris Cringle--whatever the hell he goes by these days (you'd think he was P. Diddy with all these names)-- is not only a little voyeuristic if you don't have kids or siblings, let's be honest, but pretty frightening.
It's startling watching children scream and throw fits as they're pressed down on that old guys lap. Parents place infants on his lap as if he's going to place a hand on their head and promise a future with a high SAT score, a rich spouse and forever good looks.
What's even stranger is watching the ones who are fascinated by him. There he is, this big fat guy with a long scraggly beard that he keeps rubbing, and there they are, with twinkling eyes as if he were Mickey Mouse or Jesus.
There’s something wrong with Christmas and it starts with jolly St. Nicholas:
1. I’m certain this guy has to be on Megan's Law. He lures children with candy canes and cookies to his sleigh and then asks them to sit on his lap. This sounds like a case of Michael Jackson. Too soon?
2. I think Mrs. Claus is a total decoy like Hillary was for Bill. Why else do you think he has all those little interns, I mean, elves working for him?
3. What's up with that weird gingerbread house behind the tree? It's creepy and it's too small to be a home and too big to be a dog house. I think that's where he takes his “clients.”
4. Toy making? What kind of toys? We all know Santa doesn't bring them anyway, mom and dad do (sorry if I just ruined Christmas), so we know it’s a cover-up.
5. What's with all the stage names? He sounds like a mail-order stripper: he shows up at your house late at night in disguise with names like St. Nick or Chris Cringle while rubbing his bowl full of jelly. It's just not right, but I guess if that gets you off, by all means, carry on.
6. 20 bucks says there's a camera in his beard. He definitely video tapes his daily events and watches it in his “shop” later that night.
7. “He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake.” Oh, does he? That’s not creepy at all.
8. He has a “naughty or nice” list and it doesn’t mean good vs. bad, it means gentle vs. rough.
9. Holiday traditions like mistletoe and spiking eggnog don’t sound innocent. I know he didn’t coin the mistletoe idea, but you know he’s getting his “helpers” wasted and tossing mistletoe like it’s rice at a wedding. Don’t even get me started on “snow flocking (that sounds like something that happens at a fraternity party, in a basement, on a cold night)."
10.He got caught kissing mommy underneath the mistletoe (look up song). That’s not all he’s up to.
Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe there's some sort of gratification in watching your child scream on his lap? Is it payback for what your parents did to you? And is the picture really that worth it anyway? This stranger with rosy red cheeks is holding your six-week-old baby who’s crying and all you get is a picture that’s off-centered because the girl operating the camera is: texting, chewing gum and thinking of ways to kill herself and her parents for making her take that job.
Santa, you dirty dog, I’m onto you.