My pre-Christmas shopping included a visit to a small indoor shopping centre, complete with Santa and his photographer. Most of the times I’ve seen Santa in a shopping centre, he has a lovely big chair which he looks as out of place sitting on as he does in his acrylic beard, and the kids flock in wonderment and oblivion to have a photo with the big man in red.
This particular Santa wasn’t all that different, but he had a lavish black velvet couch instead. He’d lure the kids over with a wave and sure enough, the kids would beg their parents for a photo and out comes the cash. But then I noticed something a bit different. Santa was out of the picture altogether! The photographer had asked a little girl to remove her big outdoor coat, then daintily arranged her scarf and told her how to pose on the ornate black velvet couch. Santa was busy luring the kids while the photographer snapped away. The photographer clearly knows his market: the parents were loving these photos of their kids posing happily on the couch and buying them on the spot from what they could see on the photographer’s view finder.
Where I am in France often reminds me of my childhood in Australia: everyone seems a bit more relaxed and the pace is a bit slower. But my childhood photos with Santa usually involved a Santa who looked younger than my mum, sweating in the summer heat with all that padding, a sibling with closed eyes or a tongue poked out, and a very bored photographer using a tripod to take the same photo angle over and over again. In fact, I hassled my mum to dig up this old photo of me with my brothers and Santa to illustrate just how bored the photographer (and Santa) must be. Time with Santa was limited and there was never an option of more than one photo. So here’s a tip to Santa’s photographers worldwide: get that camera off the tripod and work it! Parents will love you for it and you’ll make a load more cash. Not that Christmas has anything to do with commercialism, obviously.