It feels awkward to bring this up, but I have an issue I need to discuss with you. You have a little PR problem. Sometimes there is too much exposure. (See: Palin, Bristol.) I'll be frank. You're everywhere!
I'm not trying to be critical, and no matter what, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for you. I'll never forget the presents you brought me when I was growing up: a goldfish, a fancy coat, a dollhouse. But take this well-intentioned advice from a weary mom in Pennsylvania: It's time to scrub your image, get lost for a little while, and play hard to get.
Remember the 1970s? Every December my parents would stick my two siblings and me in the back of the Pontiac for an evening of Christmas shopping at the Worcester Galleria. There we'd wait in line for a chance to sit on your knee and tell you what we wanted. The visit was brief. We enjoyed it, but we didn't want to linger. We were a little scared and a little mystified.
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That's the thing, Santa. The mystery. It's gone. These days, if kids miss you at one of your many appearances, they can send you e-mail, track you on NORAD, and even get a call from you. I sent my six-year-old daughter off for an evening of Bingo on November 19 with a friend and her parents. And you made an unexpected appearance there! Before Thanksgiving!
Now I'm spending the month of December sequestered inside the house with my two kids to avoid you. Which isn't easy, because you'll be at the town's tree lighting on Saturday. At the Christmas tree farm. At a church brunch. Of course you're at the mall. Even the Moms Club I'm in had to recruit you for the Christmas luncheon one time. That was a disaster. You had a really snarly "ho ho ho" that year, and the toddlers were freaking out. The mommies were skeeved, too.
About those kids. They're clever little ones. They ask lots of questions. And if your voice sounds a little higher than they remember, or if different color arm hairs stick out at the end of your sleeve, they demand answers. I'm not ready for those kinds of questions. I blush when I'm lying, even to my children.
I know, you're in a tough spot. The fault lies with the crazy parents, who demand your attendance at every event. The same parents who go overboard with kids' birthday parties and goody bags, but won't let their 10-year-olds walk down the driveway to get the mail. You're so accommodating, you don't know how to say "no." But really, I think it's time for you to try to reject these extra appearances. Or demand a steep fee. Be more James Bond, less LeBron James.
Remember that 1978 classic, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street? It came to our house on DVD last year. The kids love it as much as I did. The entire film is based on Big Bird grappling with the question that Oscar raises - how can fat old Santa get down those skinny little chimneys? But you never appear in the show. When Big Bird falls asleep on the roof, we see a shadow and hear the tinkling of bells, sending a frisson through viewers of all ages. That's the closest we come to glimpsing you. Subtle.
I know I sound like a Grinch, kind sir. It's just that I want to preserve your magic as long as possible for today's kids. And I figure you have better things to be doing this time of year than appearing at mother's group lunches. Give yourself a break, Santa. Save yourself for the big night. Sometimes, even for the guy in the red suit, less is more.
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