Via the Tyee, I found this little gem of a photo gallery: kids terrified of getting their pictures taken with Santa. I was hurtled back in time to 1995 or so, when I had a job as Santa’s photographer. We had looped in Christmas music, one disgruntled Santa who doubled as the mall maintenance man, one nice Santa who seemed to actually enjoy the kids, and of course, the little darlings who lined up each session and then screamed in terror when placed in Santa’s lap. It would have been funny if it weren’t for the anxious moms who implored “Get one of her smiling!” while standing behind me and grinning with their fingers pulling on the corners of their mouths as if they were coaching the poor kid through a beauty pageant. Or worse, scowling at me and “the elves” as we shook a toy above the camera. “Smile!” Tantrum continues. “Next!”
Actually, I haven’t been Christmas shopping yet. Those poor schoolkids forced to sing in choirs at malls remind me too much of my own elementary school traumas. One minute, I’ll be browsing at the Body Shop for Peppermint foot lotion when I’ll happen to hear grade 5s from Ridgeway Annex singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (with naughty asides), and the next thing you know, I’m curled in the fetal position in the food court and rocking back and forth to what might be the rhythm of “Up on The Housetop”. Really Mrs. Armstrong, I don’t want to sing Christmas carols for five hours a day for the entire month of December. No. No! Noooooooo!!!
Poor kids. What we put them through in the name of Baby Jesus.

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