Ho, ho, ho! It’s a Father Christmas shortage!
Not enough people are applying for the job of Local Shopping Centre Santa. People are un-applying in plague proportions. Turns out being urinated on for four weeks by other peoples’ greedy brats isn’t such a hot ticket after all.
It may be that the ratio of children to deep-voiced jolly men with robust thighs is off. It could be that those that are around and available are worried about the potentially awkward and litigious practice of having children sit on your lap and ask you for presents.
Or of course for any children reading, it could be that there’s only one Santa, and he’s busy making peanut-free toys for you all at the North Pole. Probably hanging out with Jesus or something, I don’t know.
The problem is, these children need to sit somewhere and itemise the things they want to find under the tree. Their parents need to queue for an hour to get a photograph of their child blinking, crying, distracted by tinsel or crapping their daks.
Everybody needs to point at a man in a chair and say “See? Told you I wasn’t lying!” to small people until those people are old enough to be told the truth in order to perpetuate the hallowed Yuletide deception with their own kids. IT’S CHRISTMASSY.
If this dwindling Santa trend is set to continue, we need to start formulating a contingency plan NOW. Slowly alter the kiddies’ expectations, Christmas by Christmas, subtly enough so that they feel their Decemberish requirements are always met.
Still using the same ornate chair, decorations and hopped-up human Ritalin that is the Christmas photographer, but with more flexible results when you actually get the urchins to the head of the queue. Start getting some new characters in the chair. Like:
The Christmas Ninja
Truth be told, nobody can really tell if The Christmas Ninja is even there or not, but you can still ask him for presents, because you can be dang sure he’s listening. Almost all requests for nunchucks or silent retribution will be honoured.
Qantas employees have had a fair bit of spare time on their hands lately, so manning Santa’s Grotto would at least give them something to do. They could also speak to the kiddies quite authoritatively about air traffic routes from the North Pole, sleigh maintenance and the maximum allowable number of presents allowed on each flight.
The Cast Of Underbelly Razor
Sure, it’s all prostitutes, illegal booze and blokes with neat hair getting sliced open, but the accents are straight out of an amateur performance of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Instead of cooking a turkey or goose they’d be topping and tailing beans though, because seriously, they do that a lot on that show.
You can get any skinny geek with a beanie to dress up as the guy from the Where’s Wally? books, with no extra skills. Most of the scrawny adolescents packing night shelves downstairs in Coles will do perfectly, and they can even inexplicably be called ‘Waldo’ for the American kids. Children can ask Wally for whatever they want for Christmas, and the parents get a gift, too. They get to march their kids up, point, and say “THERE HE IS. Now shut up”.
Jesus and/or Elvis
These guys share a lot in common, so they might as well also share the Santa-replacement task. They’ve both been referred to as ‘the King’. Both have pretty impressive sideburns, although the rest of Jesus’ facial hair was a bit late-John-Lennony. Both died in interesting circumstances and have been seen by select mid-western Americans since. Both have had Christmas albums. Plus if the children are after fishes, loaves, rhinestones or prescription medication for Christmas, they’re totally set. And you know what? Manners. No kid ever got a present from Elvis without learning how to say “Thank you very much”.
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