The holidays just keeping getting more and more fun!
Not only must parents deal with buying presents in a down economy and having their ears assaulted with Christmas carols since September, but now Santa is also making kids go through a screening process before agreeing to meet with them.
According to many news reports, if your kid is sneezing, coughing, and generally sick, Shopping Mall Santa would prefer that your child just send his wish list by snail mail, thank you very much. Not that you can blame Santa, what, with the H1N1 flu scare and all — and with Santa’s weight issues, he can’t be in the best of health to begin with.
In fact, Santas around the country are preparing for the illness-prone horror of the holiday season: plenty of children cuddling up close to them, crying, spitting, and puking while they mutter out all the presents they want. Give Santa a break.
Joe Morin (Santa) lives in Cambridge, Minnesota, but travels out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (close to my original hometown of Mechanicsburg), to be a natural-beard Santa at Bass Pro Shops. He says more than 10,000 kids will sit on his lap this season. That’s a lot of H1N1 up in his beard.
His plan: sanitize his hands after every visit with a kid and wipe his face with baby wipes a couple of times an hour. He says some Santas are even leaving the red coats at home. Why? They fear the big, furry mess will harbor germs, and is hard to wash if a kid sneezes or throws up. Lovely.
Many malls are wisely offering a hand sanitizer pump to help protect both shoppers and the man in the red suit from the swine flu. Elves also have a new job this year: pre-screening kiddos for the flu. Kids who are coughing and sneezing will be turned away.
So instead of asking children if they’ve been naughty or nice, what Santa REALLY wants to know is: Have you been disinfected and vaccinated? Because hack, hack, hack = No ho, ho, ho for you!