The Toronto Eaton Centre made a bold move this Christmas when they decided to cancel the traditional Santa booth and introduce him on Skype instead. According to an article in the Globe and Mail recently, line ups in years past went on for up to three hours, which wasn’t good for shoppers or parents. So the mall decided to try something new, making Santa more accessible for ‘busy parents’. Interestingly, the same Globe and Mail article generated 308 comments from readers who were almost all disgusted and appalled by the decision.
The Eaton Centre Santa on Skype is free and available on weekdays between 6 and 8 pm. Parents need to call the mall and arrange a time to chat. Seriously.
Why do I feel this is so sad and wrong? Can we argue that moving Santa from the offline world into the online world dehumanizes him and all of Christmas? It’s not like he is the real Santa, after all. Right?
But to the three year-old child (where the real spirit of Christmas lives), that man at the mall dressed up in a suit is Santa. That kid has one chance a year to sit on the lap of the greatest superhero of all time and ask for a special gift. Just him. In real life, in real time. It’s real to them, and it’s magic to watch.
Sure, the Santa visit can be a nightmare if the lines are long and grueling, but there is a reason why we put up with it—because we want it as much as the kids. Its tradition all wrapped up in nostalgia. It reminds us of our happy holiday memories and makes us feel like good parents. And that’s the real game we’re playing, after all (the good parent game).
Besides, savvy moms know you don’t need to make an appointment to see Santa on Skype when you can visit him at the North Pole here.
So what’s the verdict—is the Digital Santa savvy or not? Tell me what you think. We want more comments than the Globe!