Yes, yes, I know exactly what my last post was: all about how we should not begin to think about celebrating and getting excited about Christmas until we are in December. But just how is a man supposed to stick to his principles when you nip into the town center and the kids spy a couple of reindeer? Not just any couple of reindeer, but reindeer belonging to him, no less.
I did try to examine the credentials of the three elves, as one was pushing six feet tall. “Aren’t you a bit tall to be an elf?” I asked. But it seems that they have relaxed the criteria these days. They will take on anybody. I suppose that if anyone is going to be equal opportunities, it would be Santa.
And straight from stumbling across his two reindeer, we then encountered the big man himself. On passing through the doors to the shopping center, we found a long line of eager children and beaming adults snaking their way towards the seated jolly fellow. I tentatively suggested, out of earshot of the kids, that we could come back again, maybe nearer the time, but from the wife I got the look.
So we joined the line. A clown who looked like he couldn’t really motivate himself to get fully ready this morning, minus the face paint but adorning the eccentric clothes, refused a request to make a dinosaur out of a couple of balloons and made a giraffe instead. As far as our four year old lad was concerned, you can’t tell the difference between a giraffe and a sauropod.
As we neared the front of the queue we encountered another elf who had been eating all of her greens and was above five feet in height. Now fully committed, resignedly if not emotionally, I tentatively asked her now much it would cost for both of the children to meet Father Chrismas, have their photographs taken, and snatch his hands off when he offered a present each.
“Nothing. It’s absolutely free.”
I couldn’t believe it. “Free?” I quickly pulled my arms out of my sleeves and thrust my coat into the wife’s hands. “I’m gonna have a go on Santa’s knee myself!”
But in the season when everyone seems to make a packet out of everything, you can’t complain about a free meeting with the big man himself can you? Maybe everyone is starting off in the Christmas spirit this year.
Even if it is in November.
It’s beginning to look a lot like December, everywhere you go. In November.