The seemingly age old tradition of small children sitting on Santa’s lap and asking for presents is so engrained in our society that most parents think nothing of it. For decades it has been commonplace to take your younglings to a venue where they can perch atop the lap of the jovial fat man of the season and tell him what they desire for Christmas. It has become as normal as any other American holiday tradition.
Parents buy into this more than kids. It is the parents who promote this idea of Santa’s Lap. Over time, children accept the notion of Santa and of the seasonal custom of sitting on a stranger’s lap during the winter months, however it is the parents who initially instigate this bizarre tradition. Any other time of year, parents would scream in horror if their children willingly sat on a fat, bearded, strange man’s lap and asked him for things. All stereotypes aside, most people probably don’t want anything a bearded, fat guy has to offer anyway. Unless you have a thing for Werther’s Originals and perhaps a cigar.
There is nothing more disconcerting than placing your young children on the lap of a stranger who has an uncanny resemblance to most homeless. Sans the red suit and hat, most Santas are barely discernible from bums. Similarly to hobos, most Santas are outwardly disheveled, overly hairy, and probably drunk. If that very same man lost the suit and approached your child in a windowless panel van offering candy, you’d run for the police. Yet somehow putting a red suit and a furry hat on even the creepiest individuals changes their aura altogether. So much so that parents enforce their child’s closeness to this seasonal being.
The annual tradition of handing your children over to an obese, elderly codger in a red suit has become as natural as eating turkey on Thanksgiving or dressing as a hussy on Halloween. The normalcy associated with Santa’s Lap is easily one of the most paradoxical qualities of an already hypocritical time of year. Santa’s Lap is only Santa’s Lap insofar as the individual is perceived as jolly, rotund, bearded, and dressed in red. It is perhaps the ultimate irony that parents will relentlessly protest the presence of a sex offender in their neighborhoods but will nary express a concern about encouraging their impressionable children to climb upon the lap of a complete stranger…especially one with such lofty career ambitions as “mall Santa.”
Happy Holidays, kids. When mommy and daddy push you towards the bearded geriatric at your local mall, just remember this. Santa is fictional. And that guy dressed as the conjured deity of childhood materialism…he hates you, he hates all kids. The only thing he needs besides a real job and probably some hydrocortisone for his fake beard rash is to be left alone whilst in line at the soup kitchen.