Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is for you to have a soul again

I know I’m supposed to tell you whom the Mulletville Corp Thanksgiving Gift Basket Committee picked as its turkey recipient, but if I don’t write about what happened Friday night I am going to explode.

Chuck, Junior and I went to the West Farms Mall. I knew Santa had already arrived at the mall—he comes after Easter now, right?—I just didn't realize he had changed so much.

Did you know he up and moved to Narnia?

Hell ya. He's now shacking up with the Ice Queen. In his new digs, he has a magical throne that makes your butt cold when you sit on it (that was the helper’s enticement to try it out, not mine). Snow globes through which you can walk. Televisions that blare scenes from the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, Voyage of the Something Something.

Gone were the little wooden trinkets and jingling bells of years past. This Santa was 100% Disney-fied. Bigger. Brighter. Balls-to-the-wall action.

Of course Junior wanted to meet him. Of course. What pre-schooler doesn’t want to say hi to the man in red and inquire about his reindeer?

We made our way through Narnia and found Santa, who invited Junior onto his lap.

"Have you been a good boy? Do you know I like cookies? Wasn’t that last scene from the Chronicles of Narnia riveting?"

Yes, yes, yes, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp and Walden Media. I mean, Santa.

“Let’s go, Junior,” I said sweetly.

And then, from Santa, came this: “Do you like LEGOs or Hot Wheels, little boy?”

I didn’t know Junior knew race cars by a particular brand name, but he surprised me by saying “Hot Wheels.”

“Well. Then you’ll love the Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Speed Set! Make sure you ask for it!”

I grabbed Chuck’s arm. “Did Santa just name drop a specific product? Did he just tell our son to request a mother fucking criss cross speed set? Did he?”

“Yes,” Chuck said. “Santa just target marketed to our son.”

Junior climbed down. We walked away.

I felt dirty.

For the next few hours I couldn’t help but shake my head. The Narnia vomit was bad enough, but to have Santa ask pointed questions about Junior's toy preference and to then have him recommend a specific product was, well, disgusting. It confirms every feeling I have about what the Christmas holiday has become: over-commercialized, mechanical and soulless.

I kept thinking, Santa’s a sell-out. Nothing is sacred anymore. Nothing.

Over the weekend I contemplated calling the mall to ask how much Santa gets paid for his product pitching. I also wanted to know the name of the marketing company that dreamed up this let’s-get-Santa-to-market-specific-toys campaign. Not only because it is evil, but because they didn’t even execute the campaign correctly.

A helper should have been listening to the kids’ responses and should have immediately handed the kids custom coupons for the products for which they’d shown a preference. Then the company would have known how many of Santa’s pitches converted to actual sales.

If you’re going to sully the lap of the Big Red Man you should at least be able to track your fucking sales leads.

But maybe they were just dabbling this year, trying out the idea. Maybe next year Santa will be on the Pirates of the Caribbean ship, pitching Bratz dolls, and that’s when we’ll finally sink those last few inches to the murkiest of murky bottoms.

Then what?

P.S. I thought about writing a Letter to the Editor to share my experience but realized the nearest newspaper, The Hartford Courant, probably wouldn't run it, seeing how they sponsored the Ice Palace. Those pesky conflicts of interest!


The Captain's Wife said...

Write your letter to the Advocate! I bet they's put it in the next issue!

Small Town Mommy said...

I say write the letter anyway. If the Courant doesn't work, try the NY Times. It covers Connecticut.

The important question, is the campaign successful? Will Santa bring Junior the Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Speed Set?

Frogs in my formula said...

Over my dead body.

The Mother said...

Hmm...a commercial holiday icon selling out to commercialism. Whoda thunk?

Once again, I recommend Pratchett, "Hogfather."

Anonymous said...

The real irony here is the perversion of C.S. Lewis's original story. But, as the sponsors are most likely illiterate, I'm sure they haven't read the books.

This is why I never miss church during the Advent season. It balances the rest of it out.

Bird Shit and Baby Caca said...

Wow that's just wrong. Definitely write a letter

Pricilla said...

Santa may be a "commercial holiday icon" but at least for my childhood he was a symbol of something magical.

It was the magic of at least one day of family happiness. Of one day where my parents pulled it together for the kids. So to this day I still love Santa. I would have been appalled to see him hawking product so tackily and I would have probably gone to mall management.

He should remain away from that as just a symbol of Christmas not product for children until that horrible day they find out he is not real.

Sorry to rant in your comments

Jess said...

And to think I've spent the last two weeks listening to 105.9 trying to win a GC to the West Farms Mall.... I'm so glad we don't subscribe to Santa in our house. My girls know that I get all the gifts and I get all the credit.

Mrs. Tuna said...

Damn Santa and his product placement. I say reindeer meat for all and for all a good night.

Julie from Momspective said...

I'm a wicked a-hole. I let my in-laws Santa all the way but I don't dig the whole thing so I don't say either way. Bad mommy! Bad!

Catootes said...

That. Is. Just. Wrong.

On so many level.

Christmas just slipped down the respectable scale once again.

Frogs in my formula said...

Even though Santa may be a commercial holiday icon, his lap should not be for sale. Or, hell, it should come with a disclaimer.

Pricilla, you can rant as much as you'd like.

kyooty said...

write it anyway, go all Canadian on them. That's what we do up here, we write letters.
Also apparently Santa lives close to Shrek from Far Far away... because they are appearing at our malls here together.

Anonymous said...

This is so depressing. (Not to mention well-written!) It's bad enough Santa is out and about before Thanksgiving, but now he's telling kids what they want? I don't know what I would have done. Luckily, my kid has been scared of Santa, so hopefully he won't ask to go visit him this year.

Jenni said...

That is unreal. UNREAL.

Jenni said...

That is unreal. UNREAL.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

that is just so disgusting. Thank God our kids don't believe in SAnta. we are total scrooges at our house. Grinch too. The Mr. is Grinch and I'm scrooge. It makes for some frowny-faced kids but we save a hell of alot on presents. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this last night. I have been irritated that there are no longer creches in the malls. But that might be a blessing. I would hate to have the Baby Jesus telling my daughter to ask for an Easy Bake Oven. bwahahahaha.

Hey, Texan Mama, are you the Before Scrooge or the After Scrooge? haha.

Anonymous said...

Just finished with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, under great duress provided by my daughter, since I cannot STAND how relentlessly they market everything from Pokemon toys and movies to Pillsbury products (no kidding), to anything and everything NBC.

SLColman said...

That is just crazy :( I can't believe how commercial the holidays have begun. So sad.

From night lights to Fortnite: I need like 10,000 more tissues please

I swear, watching your kids grow up is so fucking hard. I thought it would be easier because Chuck and I are cool and hip, despite the...