Christmas is for everyone, most especially for department store owners.
Warning: Severe rambling ahead.
As a little kid, Christmas to me meant breathing cool air, eating ham in pineapple juice, listening to the sound of feel good carols and showing goodwill to all. As a parent, recollections of Christmas are now peppered with memories of sardine cans the size of malls, filled with irate shoppers smelling of arm (pit) sweat in mile long lines to cashiers dressed like Santa’s haggard little elves.
This year I was officially inducted into the arm (pit)-scented society as I squeezed into congested mall aisles. My mission was to look for a Santa cap, red shirt, shorts, sneakers and knee high red and white striped socks.
The socks were the hardest to find. Every school had the “original” idea of making all their kids wear the same socks for their school programs so by the time I hit the shelves, there were only green striped socks for green elves. But my daughter is a red elf!
Good thing the man in the red suit himself seemed to be trailing my route as I ransacked every major and minor store for the seemingly mythical red socks. He was trying to cheer me on, I say!
There he was on a stand in one mall playing the saxophone. I drew close to listen to some uplifting music to inspire me in my futile search for red socks. To my surprise he didn’t seem to be playing a popular Christmas song. In fact, it sounded faintly like Careless Whisper.
“Will you put my photo on Facebook?” Santa asked. “Why sure Santa, so that the world may know how you've been reduced to a shadow of your former self and into a department store employee.”
Several more stores and Santas later and I started wondering where the guy whose birthday it is we’re supposed to be commemorating on the 25th was. I suppose Santa is the preferred bearer of commercial good cheer because store employees in newborn swaddling cloths will probably sell fewer red socks, green socks, toys and whatnot.
I finally found a pair of red socks in a quiet Chinese-owned store that didn’t seem to be celebrating Christmas. Great. Now I can tell my arm (pit)-scented community members where they can buy their socks so they don’t have to go through the hoops I’d been through and run the risk of losing their Christmas spirit.