We saw Santa at Center Court. Paige was waving at him and saying "Santa!" so I figured, it doesn't hurt to visit (the sign even says we welcome visits but no camera/cell pictures). I tell the Elf that we're just visiting. Like most toddlers I see, she likes Santa from afar but doesn't enjoy him when he's so close. Santa tried a few times to get her onto his lap, but she kept reaching to me. At this point, Santa asked if we're doing pictures today. I said that we were just visiting for now. He asked again and made a comment about a "Hiding Mommy trick" (where they have Paige sit on my knee, crop me out so it looks like she's sitting on Santa). I once again (politely) declined. And one last time he asked - "You can't even afford $25.00?"
5 words. That's all it took to kill my Christmas spirit. I understand that mall Santas are in sales - they want to sell pictures. But if you're like me, you have bills and other things going on. I have enough money to pay the necessities but frivolous things, like a picture with Santa, is not on the budget this week. And $25.00 would buy her stocking stuffers, or another gift. A gift for my husband. The cost of gas to make a few extra trips to see family and friends this Christmas.
I, of course, made a Facebook post.
The responses I got from my friends was overwhelming...and I thank all of you. They all said Santa was in the wrong, asking me to call to complain, and comments about how plenty of people are without a job - someone out there would be holly & jolly.
So, I called to complain. Let me tell you, for a company to answer the phone "Hello?" is not right. I was thrown off, thinking I had the wrong number. I don't have a company name or a representative name to share. She didn't take my info - she just said she'd speak to Santa. In honesty, I'm not sure that anything could have been done to make me happy. Thankfully, my sweet 18 month old doesn't understand and my mom has offered to pay for pictures with Santa (at a different mall).
Santa is a symbol of hope, cheer. He's used to make children behave, he's the Elf who makes the toys, the man who makes children's dreams come true. He holds promise of a bright, peaceful future. But to me? To me, he's the man who broke my Christmas spirit.