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.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.