The Mall Santa

Is it my imagination or did Santa arrive early this year? I hadn’t been to the mall for quite some time, so I’m not sure when he set up shop. But today, November 13, in Chandler Fashion Mall, as my friend Denise and I headed toward the escalator, she gasped and pointed to the long line off to our right. The line was full of over-dressed very small people. As we drew closer they morphed into children accompanied by parents; each one decked out in ribbons and bows and fancy clothes and shiny shoes, and yep—there it was — Santa’s Village – elves, and Christmas trees and a photographer to capture it all. Maybe I’m wrong and it’s been this way for a few years, but somehow I remember the Christmas season starting after Thanksgiving. Macy’s Santa was always the first to appear. That’s why we stayed glued to the long televised balloon parade – to watch that sleigh come down the street, the mechanized reindeer flying through the New York City sky, and the jolliest, roundest, most real Santa waving to the crowd and ho-ho-ho-ing to open the Christmas season.
Even in the recent past, the stores had the courtesy to let the turkey and leftovers coagulate in the refrigerator before Black Friday sales began. This year Black Friday is starting at midnight so the retailers can get a ten-hour jump-start on their profits. Now I’m not a Scrooge, really I’m not. In fact I had just spent two hours with my friend watching decorating demonstrations in Pottery Barn and planning my new silver and white Christmas theme for this year. I even stopped for a stocking stuffer moments before the sighting.
Call me old fashioned, but I’d really like to listen to Christmas music two weeks prior to Christmas Day. The thought of a month of Christmas songs makes me nauseous. I’d like to decorate the house no earlier than December 1st, and I really see no reason to ask young children to finalize their Christmas lists by November 10th. If they are anything like my kids were, their list will change a dozen times in the next month. And if they change their minds, will it require a second trip to the mall Santa?
I raise the question again – Why start so danged early??

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