Tuesday 6 December 2011

A Sternly Worded Email

Today I have been thinking about a news story from a few days ago about how the Eaton’s store in downtown Toronto isn’t going to have a Santa for the first time in a hundred years. That is quite a momentous change.

A representative from the store said that the kiddies can skype Santa and tell him what they want that way. It kind of dehumanizes the whole Santa experience. Basically your kid can tell a computer what he or she wants and I would imagine that information will be put into a data base which will in turn be sold to other companies who will direct their marketing to your computer.

I know that Christmas has long been about sales and making money, which in turn drives the economy forward, and that helps to employ the kiddies moms and dads so that they can buy goods which will drive the economy forward for the next year. It is a symbiotic relationship of course and like all symbiotic relationships, each part relies on the other parts to keep things moving forwards. I just think that the corporations seem to be letting the rest of us down. Yep, I know times are tough and if these corporations go out of business, times will be even tougher. However, they gladly pocketed the profits when times were good and I just think that they could and should hold up their end of the bargain when times aren’t as good.

Get Santa back in the store and you get kids back in the store. The kids don’t come down to the store by themselves, they bring mom and dad, and mom and dad bring money to buy Christmas gifts which will make a profit for the store. On and on it goes, just as it was intended.

Quite some time ago now the stores downtown stopped doing the creative window displays that I loved so much as a kid. We would go downtown as a family to Eaton’s, Simpson’s and the Bay to watch animated elves loading a sleigh with toys. We could see animated people skating around the window while the snow would fall. Every year the windows would change and every year, our family and thousands of other families would go to see the windows, and I guess to shop while we took the opportunity to see Santa. God I loved Christmas! I still do, and I think it is because of those windows and being able to sit on Santa’s lap.

I was in a local mall a week or so ago and they had an elaborate Christmas castle set up for the kids to see Santa. There were elves and racoons, squirrels and oddly, a person manning a camera. The camera person was the only one with a good view of Santa and the kids. The picture package was $20. FUCK! I can remember when the mall camera store would supply the film, take the pictures, develop them and give them out for free. It was called good will advertising. Times do change for sure.

I suppose that the kids of today will have Christmas traditions and memories that they will tell to their kids and grandkids. They will more than likely involve a voice and image of a magical being that no one sees, who loves children so much that once a year he comes to their homes in the night and leaves gifts for the good boys and girls. The bad boys and girls will get a sternly worded email.

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