Santa's at the Mall

Well, it's not not yet Thanksgiving and Santa's at the mall. Just outside of Sears, I pause, clutching my plastic bag, to watch the scene below.

Dominating the display is the Christmas tree, of course, extending through the second floor nearly to the ceiling. In front of the tree is Santa's chair, covered in red velvet. Currently an elf sits there, chin in hand, staring out at nothing.

I can't see Santa anywhere.

Perhaps he's run to Starbucks for a cup of joe.


Every year it's the same: nutcracker soldiers guarding the tree; gigantic boxes wrapped in red and festooned with ribbons of gold; children dressed in Sunday clothes standing in line while parents cajole or smile, remembering their pasts and the way it's supposed to be. Nearby, a terrifying Jack-in-the-box grins inanely, head bobbing wildly upon its spring. 

The elf suddenly rises, and brushes off his pants.

The photographer jumps to attention.

Santa has arrived.

Actually, he's been here since November 3. We saw him here last Saturday when we had to purchase a coat for our exchange student. Temperatures don't get this cold in Israel.

And as I stand watching Santa receive the little children upon his expansive lap, asking them what they want for Christmas, tensions between Gaza and Israel are escalating. Just this morning, I heard of the death of an eight month old girl in a bomb strike. I do not know if she was from Israel or Gaza. All I know is that she was a child.

All I know is that this is not the way it's supposed to be.

And while tears of the mothers and fathers rain down; while gunfire is exchanged and bombs are positioned; while my student wonders about what is going to happen, Santa calls to a child.

The photographer snaps a picture.

The parents smile.

The family disperses.

Santa's at the mall.

All is well.

Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Santa's at the Mall

Friday, November 16, 2012

Santa's at the Mall

Well, it's not not yet Thanksgiving and Santa's at the mall. Just outside of Sears, I pause, clutching my plastic bag, to watch the scene below.

Dominating the display is the Christmas tree, of course, extending through the second floor nearly to the ceiling. In front of the tree is Santa's chair, covered in red velvet. Currently an elf sits there, chin in hand, staring out at nothing.

I can't see Santa anywhere.

Perhaps he's run to Starbucks for a cup of joe.


Every year it's the same: nutcracker soldiers guarding the tree; gigantic boxes wrapped in red and festooned with ribbons of gold; children dressed in Sunday clothes standing in line while parents cajole or smile, remembering their pasts and the way it's supposed to be. Nearby, a terrifying Jack-in-the-box grins inanely, head bobbing wildly upon its spring. 

The elf suddenly rises, and brushes off his pants.

The photographer jumps to attention.

Santa has arrived.

Actually, he's been here since November 3. We saw him here last Saturday when we had to purchase a coat for our exchange student. Temperatures don't get this cold in Israel.

And as I stand watching Santa receive the little children upon his expansive lap, asking them what they want for Christmas, tensions between Gaza and Israel are escalating. Just this morning, I heard of the death of an eight month old girl in a bomb strike. I do not know if she was from Israel or Gaza. All I know is that she was a child.

All I know is that this is not the way it's supposed to be.

And while tears of the mothers and fathers rain down; while gunfire is exchanged and bombs are positioned; while my student wonders about what is going to happen, Santa calls to a child.

The photographer snaps a picture.

The parents smile.

The family disperses.

Santa's at the mall.

All is well.

Labels: ,

8 Comments:

At November 16, 2012 at 9:39 AM , Blogger j umbaugh said...

Neat balance in exploring priorities... Leaves you thinking about how both events can occur in the same world... at the same time.

 
At November 16, 2012 at 10:30 AM , Blogger Lia said...

You are so good at juxtapositions. I notice from the pieces I've read here and there that your seamless transition between a happier, optimistic illusion and a sordid reality are always more effective and poignant. Love it.

We in the USA are often blind sided by the consumerism. We forget that our leaders have made a battleground of other countries with potentially more wealth using their own cultures against them.

www.yourpredefinedtaste.blogspot.com

 
At November 16, 2012 at 8:06 PM , Blogger Robyn Burke said...

troubling and comforting at the same time. what a world we live in. Your writing always leaves me thinking and feeling... and wanting more. :) blessings.

 
At November 17, 2012 at 6:30 AM , OpenID highlyirritable said...

Ugh; November Santa's suck.

Can't they wait until December 1st? Or at least Black Friday?

 
At November 17, 2012 at 6:52 AM , Blogger Melanie said...

Moving post. The older I get the less I like what Christmas has become. Thanks for this picture. Visiting from WOE Weekend linkup.

 
At November 17, 2012 at 2:56 PM , Blogger Stephanie B. @B4Steph said...

Thoughtful post, to say the least. I love the way you join the two worlds. Our blindness to the rest of the planet, and your student probably considering friends and family. Terrific images of the inane jack-in-the box, the elf brushing off his pants. If only all was well... Great post!

 
At November 17, 2012 at 9:42 PM , Anonymous Azara said...

Chilling and heart-wrenching. Your writing is so powerful.

 
At November 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM , Blogger Lady Goo Goo Gaga said...

Great piece - I like the elf jumping up and dusting off his pants...so true....

http://lgoogoogaga.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/raising-justin-beiber/

 

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