I did a good portion of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve this year. Mind you I did start early in the morning. By around 2 p.m. I had completed almost all of my shopping and I headed off to Northtown Mall (yes, that Northtown Mall) to meet my friend Jessie who also waited to the last second to purchase the remainder of her holiday gifts. With our shopping lists taken care of, we casually strolled around the mall taking in the last hour blitz.
To be completely honest, the mall was not in a frenzy. Anarchy had not broken out. Rather, it seemed very tame and dense as we walked through the center. Of course there was one exception.
We made our way to the upper level of the mall and looked over one of the balconies. We casted our eyes downward and caught a glimpse of what some may call a depressing sight. A line stretched completely around the large North Pole/100 foot Christmas tree display and down a significant stretch of the mall not even in the vicinity of the winter wonderland. Of course this windy, stretched line of adults and children existed because they wanted to get their picture taken with the Fat Guy. At the forefront of the North Pole display sat Santa Claus in his big red throne surrounded by a couple of photographers with those multi colored dust brushes. The line seemed to be moving at an agonizing slow rate.
Excuse me, but why would all those people choose to get their picture taken with Santa on CHRISTMAS EVE and why would they insist on standing in that line when the wait was probably at the very least TWO HOURS?
Now I know you sense complete hypocrisy as I type out these words. I of course was out on Christmas Eve myself. I decided to procrastinate until the very last minute that ultimately led me to the exact same place that all of those people in line were. Yeah, I am not proud of myself. But I don’t think things are exactly the same.
I got home well before festivities started. I never wasted any of my time standing idly in line.
Why wouldn’t you get your family Christmas photo with Santa well in advance of Christmas Eve? Isn’t the point to show off and send out your photos to others before the new year actually hits? Or isn’t it the goal to let your children see Santa at the very least three weeks before Christmas so you have ample time to use leverage against them to be on their best behavior? Or wouldn’t you want to go earlier in the month so you can help perpetrate the myth of Santa Claus to your kids just a little more? I mean come on, most youngsters have the sense to realize that Santa can’t possibly afford to sit in the middle of a mall in Spokane, Washington, at 3 p.m. PT on Christmas Eve.
But most of all, why would you want to spend multiple hours of your time in a line during the late hours of the afternoon on Christmas Eve? I guarantee that half of the poor souls I saw waiting to see Santa were still waiting in line while I attended Christmas Eve mass with my family. I don’t do well in lines. I definitely don’t do well in lines when I could be out celebrating one of the most joyous holidays on the calendar.
However, I definitely know that I could be missing something. I mean heck, out of all the mall trips I took during the holiday season, nothing compared to the one I saw on Christmas Eve. A reason must exist for why people freely sacrifice their holiday to stand around a cheaply manufactured holiday display in a halfway abandoned mall for hours on end…right?
Is it because of tradition? Is it because of the magic? Is it because people want to stay away as long as they can before they have to go over to their relatives’ house? I know I am assuming a lot so if I am in fact way off and narrow minded please enlighten me.
To each his own! I know I will probably hear some answers that will put me in my place. For all I know, Santa Claus might very well be real and he just so happens to take up residence at Northtown Mall while giving everyone who visits him on Christmas Eve lavish gifts and winning Mega Millions tickets. If so, I might find myself in line next year. Don’t Blink.