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December 23, 2013 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Special Santa! Special Santa! Special Santas!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It makes sense that Macy's wouldn't want a bunch of Santas sitting around in the same room, or even housed in multiple rooms near each other. I mean, the last they would want to do is upset kids by making them confused. Or having them figure out that Santa doesn't exist on their own. Then parents would be furious.

But why the hell would they hide his existence from parents, and set things up so you have to be in the know and ask a freakin' elf if you want to see him? As if they're embarrassed to have him there in the first place? No photos on the walls, no signage, nothing that indicates he's there. It doesn't seem right. In fact, it seems pretty racist.
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


When whatshername was on about white Santa and white Jesus I was going to register the domain penguinsanta.com or santapenguin.com, but both were taken. I wanted to get people to post pictures of Santa as a penguin. blacksanta.com was taken as well. I'm generally not motivated enough to keep going with an idea once I hit a roadblock. With the black santa site I thought it would be cool if people posted pictures of, well, black Santas, but again, it was taken. I'm often saved from my stupidity by someone beating me to it (or squatters).
posted by cjorgensen at 11:54 AM on December 23, 2013


It makes sense that Macy's wouldn't want a bunch of Santas sitting around in the same room, or even housed in multiple rooms near each other. I mean, the last they would want to do is upset kids by making them confused.

I still remember when I was a kid I saw two Santas at the same time. My mom was damn quick when I asked. "Santa has the ability to be in more than one place at the same time. It's how he delivers all those toys in a single evening." Still makes sense to me, and is probably why I like Sci-Fi so much. Santa was a Tomorrow People! (UK version, not US.)
posted by cjorgensen at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm generally not motivated enough to keep going with an idea once I hit a roadblock. With the black santa site I thought it would be cool if people posted pictures of, well, black Santas, but again, it was taken.

Good news! Black-Santas.com is available! (But you can't have black-santa.com or blacksantas.com, those are both taken.)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on December 23, 2013


A friend works at Macy's in Santa's Workshop, and she told me about "Special Santa" last year. Apparently it's just like the video said- people know about him through word of mouth, and they ask for "Special Santa" as they come in. There's no dedicated cubby for "Special Santa"; he's basically waiting in the back, and as soon as someone wants him, they get him ready real quick and send him out. In a related story, my father started working as a professional Santa this year, so I am fascinated overall with all things Santa!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:03 PM on December 23, 2013


Oh hey, in the past few days, there was a Reddit AMA by a full-time Santa. Glad to see it; I checked for one a few weeks ago and didn't find one.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hadn't heard about Megyn Kelly's on-air comments before reading the articles here. Wow.
posted by zarq at 12:23 PM on December 23, 2013


The little kid in the still shot on the signing santa video is SO FUCKING CUTE. I think that kid is almost as cute as a cat!

On the Black Santa, I have a variety of thoughts, but I suspect that there would be no trouble finding Black Santa at Macy's if you had a Black child with you. You note that the reporter asked for "special" santa. I think if she had asked for "Black" santa, she might have found him more quickly.

Again, I have many other thoughts that spin off of these, but just wanted to make the one comment.
posted by janey47 at 12:24 PM on December 23, 2013


I do a little Santa-ing myself; it's amazing how the kids will happily accept White Santa, Black Santa, Signing Santa, Prosthetic-Leg Santa (yeah, I knew one!), Skinny Santa, and just about every version of a Santa costume you can think of (red shorts & a Hawaiian shirt? red furry overalls & a white shirt? fancy patterened vest instead of a coat? Father Christmas vs. the Coca-Cola standard furry red suit w/white trim? check, check, check....) Heck, I'm a female under my beard, and the kids who notice don't care. All they care about is, it's Santa! and he's listening to me!

(And Megyn Kelly can kiss my sleighbells.)
posted by easily confused at 12:26 PM on December 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


janey47: " On the Black Santa, I have a variety of thoughts, but I suspect that there would be no trouble finding Black Santa at Macy's if you had a Black child with you. You note that the reporter asked for "special" santa. I think if she had asked for "Black" santa, she might have found him more quickly. "

I ask this a non-Christian parent of two young children: Why isn't Black Santa good enough for white kids? Why does he need to be considered "special?"
posted by zarq at 12:36 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I keep thinking of something David Sedaris wrote in his Santaland Diaries piece; one of the Santas during his stint was an African-American man they called "Santa Jerome", who was actually kind of surprisingly grumpy and always tried to talk the kids he visited into studying entomology. Sedaris said that if he ever got a family who subtly tried to ask him to make sure they got a white Santa, he'd send them to Santa Jerome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still remember when I was a kid I saw two Santas at the same time. My mom was damn quick when I asked. "Santa has the ability to be in more than one place at the same time. It's how he delivers all those toys in a single evening."

My parents were pretty quick too:

"Of course that isn't the real Santa. He's can't be in all the stores, so he sends his elves who dress up and pretend to be Santa. But don't tell the other children--they don't know that!"
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:51 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


My mom's co-teacher is fluent in ASL and he is signing Santa every year at a local mall. They pass the word through the Deaf community and all the parents of Deaf children know when signing Santa is going to be there. The elves do a little gentle crowd control if it gets busy and lets parents of hearing children know that Santa is here especially to talk to kids who speak ASL today but would they like two coupons for Christmas hot chocolate at the Starbucks and some other convenient times to visit Santa? (But kids who are determined or can't come back later, they can still talk to Santa.)

This year when I took my 2-year-old to see mall Santa, Santa appeared to be of East Asian descent. None of the children noticed; he was in a red suit with a big white beard (real!) and he was jolly and knew a lot about popular toy trains, so OBVIOUSLY he was Santa. The only reason I noticed was that I went the day after Megyn Kelly was being a jackass, so I had it on my mind. Buried in that big beard and wearing the full suit with gloves, there's just not a whole lot of whoever's underneath the Santa to see!

Anyone of any background who wants to participate in our vast international conspiracy to bring children joy is FINE WITH ME.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:51 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


You note that the reporter asked for "special" santa. I think if she had asked for "Black" santa, she might have found him more quickly.

From what my friend at Macy's said, "Special Santa" is what everybody calls Black Santa; I doubt there was confusion on that point.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:57 PM on December 23, 2013


RonButNotStupid: ""Of course that isn't the real Santa. He's can't be in all the stores, so he sends his elves who dress up and pretend to be Santa. But don't tell the other children--they don't know that!""

Oh thank you for this. I've been sure that I've screwed up the Santa thing with my very observant 5 year old by trying to explain to her that Santa is very busy and sometimes he has friends help. Watching the Mean Santa in A Christmas Story was where it got really complicated.
posted by Big_B at 1:01 PM on December 23, 2013


zarq: I ask this a non-Christian parent of two young children: Why isn't Black Santa good enough for white kids? Why does he need to be considered "special?"

See, e.g.,: janey47: Again, I have many other thoughts that spin off of these, but just wanted to make the one comment.

I am also white, non-Christian, not a parent, and disturbed by the story for a variety of reasons that I thought I didn't need to elaborate on here.
posted by janey47 at 1:06 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This year when I took my 2-year-old to see mall Santa, Santa appeared to be of East Asian descent.

Pat Morita?

And anyway, screw it. I'm just going to start telling kids that the real Santa Claus has brown skin, just like the President.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:11 PM on December 23, 2013


At first I read the first article headline as "Singing Santa brings Christmas message to deaf children" and I went, oh noooooo.

Glad I was wrong there.
posted by capricorn at 1:20 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to start telling kids that the real Santa Claus has brown skin,

You're not wrong there.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:32 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't wait until a black or brown man dresses up in the heavily embroidered medieval robes of St. Nicholas. Megyn Kelly's head just may explode.
posted by Soliloquy at 2:05 PM on December 23, 2013


If you want to see dead Santa's grave and you are willing to travel to Ireland, drive on the wrong side of the road to the middle of nowhere, knock on a stranger's door to ask if you can go through their sheep paddock, and hike across a couple of really soggy sheep paddocks to get to a ruined church and its old graveyard, then you can go visit dead Santa's grave!

Note: Sheep paddock is shoe-ruiningly soggy. But paddock-owning stranger is very friendly. Sheep indifferent.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:18 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I explained to my nephew that Santa is most certainly white, since Santa is dead and bones are of course white.
posted by orme at 2:24 PM on December 23, 2013


The best Santa my kids ever met was during June; we were at a local mall and my eldest, then barely out of being a toddler, ran up to an elderly gent in green slacks and red sweater. As I rushed to pull her off of him, he turned and I saw the BEST white Santa beard. He was friendly to my daughter as I apologized, then he pulled small candy canes from his sweater pocket and offered them to both my young girls. The oldest, ever the sceptic, asked if he really was Santa and he pulled out his wallet, showing her an ID for Christopher Kringle.

Since then, my girls also met a black santa and several hispanic ones (Arizona, yo). The eldest came up her own theory that Mall Santa's were really Santa Helpers, since he's so busy with getting ready for deliveries- yet she -did- believe the one met in the summer was the actual one (at least for a few years, until we had to go with 'the spirit of Santa comes into people' theory).
posted by _paegan_ at 2:40 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


> They pass the word through the Deaf community and all the parents of Deaf children know when signing Santa is going to be there

We do the same for a Santa for kids on the autism spectrum here, near Seattle. There are events when it's okay to come and take a really long time to talk to Santa, or to communicate in ways that aren't conventional, and there's a quiet room, and there aren't lines to wait.

As far as black Santa: a friend here who always takes her kids to see black Santa says she finds out from e-mails when he's going to be at the department store, and they go then.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:16 PM on December 23, 2013


I explained to my nephew that Santa the Hogfather is most certainly white, since Santa the Hogfather is dead DEATH and bones are of course white.

Fixed that for you.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:21 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Santa has the ability to be in more than one place at the same time. It's how he delivers all those toys in a single evening." Still makes sense to me, and is probably why I like Sci-Fi so much

So, last year we slept over at The Fella's sister's home, tucked away on the comfy sleep sofa in their game room. Sometime in the scant hours between the adults' late-night gathering and our niece's morning wake-up, I was roused from sleep by a noise overhead.

I swear to you this is all true.

It was an odd whooshing sound with a mechanical CLANK undertone. Barely awake and disoriented from the unfamiliar location, I decided it must really be coming from the street, not the eaves, and I thought "Huh, street sweeper?" Then I woke enough to realize no one would be sweeping the streets in the wee hours of Christmas Day.

And then I really started listening.

I'll tell you what it sounded like. It sounded like a gusting, whooshing, swirly sound with a gear-shifting background.

It sounded like the TARDIS.

I laid there listening to it and I started thinking. Well, that would explain a lot, right? It would explain how Santa manages to slip in and out of places undetected. It explains how he can be everywhere, all over the globe, Christmas after Christmas. It explains his seemingly unmotivated altruism. It explains why he looks different at different times.

I'm not saying I heard Santa. I don't know what I heard. But I'm saying IT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT.
posted by Elsa at 3:45 PM on December 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't have many stories about Santa, oddly enough, but a few years ago I was in a lift when a little girl and her mother got on. The girl was clinging to her mother's leg but kept on twisting around to take a look at me. After a while she bent her head up to her mother and whispered "Mummy - is that Santa Claus?" Her mother and I kept the fixed grins demanded of uncomfortable social situations, and the girl didn't get an answer until they were leaving. When they departed, with the little girl still clinging to her mother's leg and staring at me, I squatted down to the floor, caught the little girl's eye, and just as the doors were closing I breathed out "Ho - ho - ho ...."

Well, there's someone saved from the forces of rationalism for another year.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:32 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


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