And now a word from Scrooge

Now that the Christmas holiday is over, I feel relatively safe posting about this complaint that I have about the holiday season. My office building sits atop a high-end mall and it is jam-packed during the holiday season. There is a tremendous, ponderous five-story tall atrium into which I look. The atrium is so vast that it reminds me of the opening scene in Foundation when Gael Dornick first arrives on Trantor. At the bottom of the atrium is a food court, complete with Starbucks its attendant satellites. People scurry about like ants. It’s madness!

In the center of the atrium is, of course, a Christmas tree, and sitting in front of the tree is good ol’ Saint Nick. A line forms around Santa Claus and his elves happily exchange photos for cash. There is a sign in front of Santa Claus’s den that reads: “Please do not take your own photos unless you plan on paying for the photos” or some such thing. This is where I have a problem.

We all know that Christmas has gotten commercial, but when did Santa Claus get so commercial? When I was a kid, living in Somerset, New Jersey, Santa used to ride around on the local fire engine and toss candy to kids standing in their yards. I know: I choked on that candy! Isn’t this the guy that is supposed to ride around the world on a sleigh, giving gifts to good little boys and girls, free of charge!? There are a lot of people who would love to have their child’s picture taken with St. Nick, but who could not afford the $15 for 3 small photos. Why not let them take a picture themselves?

I think there should be a law that makes it illegal to be paid for dressing up as Santa. I think the law should further stipulate that if Santa is sitting in a mall, no one can charge money for photos taken with their own cameras. What I’ve seen these last few weeks has made me sick!

I felt much better this morning, however, when I saw that Santa had returned to the north pole along with his den and his collection of greedy elves.