Mall Santas. I effing hate mall Santas.
Perhaps not the individuals, who I suspect by and large are just looking to make some extra money and/or bring joy to children - but the whole concept of mall Santas in general is just... gross.
It's that time of year when my social media gets flooded with pictures of people's small children, crying their eyes out on the lap of a stranger - and every time I see it, it makes me want to puke.
And, of course, there are the captions. Not a fan of Santa, lol. What? You mean to tell me your toddler didn't enjoy being thrust into the hands of a funny-smelling stranger in a cheap polyester suit while an artificially cheerful elf took pictures? How surprising (and sooooo funny)! Then there's: We were expecting him to cry but... But what? You're an asshole, so you didn't care? The picture was worth more to you than your kid's comfort and ability to trust you? It may be time to face the fact that you're just not a very nice person.
I came across this gem today: It'll be a good memory. FOR FUCKING WHOM? Your one year old won't remember crying on Santa's knee (at least not this year) - and I'm guessing, if they somehow did remember, it wouldn't be something they'd look back on with fondness. Ooooh, you mean it'll be a good memory for you. I can just picture you, snuggled up by the fireplace* one Christmas many years from now, looking at old pictures. "Hey Honey, remember this? This is from that time we gave Billy to a strange man and he didn't know why and thought we were going to leave him so he cried. What a great day that was." "Oh yes, Honey, it was the best."
I want a Santa picture every year. Why? What are you going to do with those (let's be realistic) seven or eight Santa pictures? Especially if your kid is crying in the first three? Hang them on the wall? No, I know: post them on Facebook so everyone can see them. Of course. (Hint: no one, except maybe your mom, cares about your shitty Santa picture. They'd much rather see a picture of your kid that was well-taken by a professional, or a candid shot of your child happy or doing something cute. The zoomed out photo of your red-eyed, snot-nosed child crying on some dude's knee is not something any of your friends care to see. Trust me).
I haven't even gotten into the issues surrounding mall Santas and older kids. The teaching-kids-strangers-are-safe, the lying to kids about Santa in general, the issues that arise when the mall Santa is a fucking creep (not saying it happens often, but it happens) - I'll leave that for another day (and possibly another Christmas). Right now, I just want to mention (in case you missed it) that giving your toddler to a weird stranger and taking pictures of their misery as if it's cute is plain messed up. Please consider starting your own, non-creepy tradition instead.
*You know what? No. You don't get a fireplace. You get an electric baseboard heater. Fuck you.