On the agenda on Saturday December 5 was a Saturday morning stroll down to the Indigo mall to see if Santa was in the house. And what a house it was. Decked out in the central public square in the mall was an amazing scene including house and Christmas tree and reindeer-filled sleigh… but no Santa. Not until December 12. And then, only on the weekends until December 24-27 when he’ll apparently be working overtime.
I should never have mentioned it to my three-year-old daughter in advance. Leaving it as a surprise would have made my life easier because when we learned he wouldn’t be arriving until the following weekend, out tumbled a cascading series of “But why, Mommy?”
“He’s still at the North Pole making presents, honey!”
“But why, Mommy?”
“Because it takes time to make presents for all the boys and girls in the world.”
“But why can’t he come to see me, Mommy?”
It was a loop that could only be unhooked via distraction, which I located in the form of frozen yogurt.
The only problem with Santa and the Indigo mall, I should add, is that a visit with him is not free. Unlike in Western malls where Santa comes and will hear the wish list from any visiting child, The Indigo Mall requires a minimum proof of purchase of exactly RMB 288 before a child is allowed to see his bearded highness.
China has never shied from being openly mercenary, so why should it now? The Christmas spirit is hard to locate in any country at the best of times with its over-the-top commercialism, so why am I surprised that a mall has missed the point?
So, kids, if you want to sit on the man-in-red’s lap, you have to come from a family that already sits in the lap of luxury. Those are the rules.
Photos: Ember Swift