I have a confession to make, dear readers.
I have never sat on Santa’s lap. Ever. Not even a little. (That I can remember anyway…must check with Mom for confirmation.)
Well….Old St. Nick scared the shit out of me.
(Go ahead, you can laugh.)
Now, I wasn’t scared of the “real” Santa Claus, I was scared of his mall bound comrades.
Oh come on, admit it, it’s a little weird…you tell your kids 364 days a year not to even TALK to strangers, and then one day….one day you ask them to SIT on some old dude in a fake beard and red suit so that you can take a picture of it. Bizzare.
Anyway, I remember one time when I was little, my aunt took me to the mall with her two kids, who were about 10 and 7 years older than me, and were always really great to me. I was the oldest kid, so I don’t know what it’s like to have older siblings, but these were the closest approximation to a big sister and big brother that I had.
Picture it-Circa 1991 (or maybe 1990) Young Rachel is taken along on a Christmas shopping outing with her lovely aunt and cousins. Everything is going along smoothly, the older cousins are allowed to take Young Rachel around the mall by themselves, making all involved feel very grown-up indeed.
Girl-Cousin (10 years older than me): “Look Rachel! It’s Santa Claus! He is going to come see you and bring you some toys! Isn’t that nice?”
Young Rachel: “My, that IS nice. I wonder what he will bring me?”
Boy-Cousin (7 years older than me): “Lots of things! You were a very good girl this year, so I bet that he brings you everything you ask for!”
Young Rachel: “Yay!”
Girl-Cousin: “You know, if you sit on Santa’s lap, you can tell him what you want for Christmas.”
Boy-Cousin: “Look Rachel! There is Santa now!”
(Sitting on a throne in the middle of the mall, sits a fat old man in a red suit and long beard. A throng of children is lined up in front of him, practically swooning. It goes without being said that this is utterly terrifying.)
Girl-Cousin, gently pulling Rachel toward teeming mass of children: “Come on Rachel! Let’s go see Santa! It will be so fun! ”
Young Rachel: “NO.”
Boy-Cousin: “Oh, come on, please? It will be so fun for you to talk to Santa!”
Young Rachel: “NoooOOOOOoooOOOOOooooOOOOOO!!!!!!!”
Girl-Cousin, still pulling Rachel toward horde of children: “Well let’s just stand in the line to see him, you will change your mind when you see how fun it is!”
Young Rachel: “NOOOOOOO PLEAAAASE DON’T MAKE ME GO OVER THERE, HE SCARES ME!!!!!!! NO! NO! NO! HE’S SCAAAAAAARY!”
The cousins really don’t care to have to manage a full scale meltdown in the middle of the mall, so I am led away from old Sandy Claws, never to return. I heartily apologize to my dear cousins, who only wanted the fun of taking their cute little blond terror of a cousin to see dear old Santa. Cousins, if you want, you can take me to sit on Santa’s lap this year. Although, at somewhere around 150 lbs, I imagine that it might put a strain on his lap.
Truthfully, I have no idea why I reacted this way. I wasn’t shy at all. I think I just got stage fright. And I was still an only child at this point, so as you can imagine, I was fairly used to getting my way.
So I’ve shared with you my deep dark Santa confession. Don’t get me wrong, I love and still halfway believe in north pole Santa, but am still leery of his mall pals.
For a special-day-before-Christmas Eve-treat, I share with you one of my most beloved Santa songs of all time. It really warms my heart.