Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Thursday 2 December 2010

Santa at the French mall

I just went out to the mall -- a big mall -- to do some shopping, but not for Christmas. In fact, Christmas hadn't even crossed my mind even though Nice has just put up a ton of Christmas trees with fake snow, an outdoor market and there are Christmas lights and giant hanging presents everywhere. I'm just not there yet.

What got me thinking about Christmas, while I was at this mall, however, was quite an effective trick: Santa started chasing us.

In North America, the Santas are so busy with dozens of little kids waiting in line that they hardly ever get out of their plush red, throne-chairs -- but maybe that's capitalism at work. In France, it seems (and I'm only taking this from one experience), the Santas have a little more time to spare.

I saw one little kid sit with Santa. He squirmed and his picture was taken -- the same old thing. But when the kid was gone, Santa started walking around trying to drum up more business. He was like a teenager trying to give out flyers outside of a night club, only he was trying to give away hugs -- to kids, adults, whomever.

The funny thing is that Santa's routine of stopping people and chatting with them -- sort of as though he worked at Disneyland -- wasn't what impressed me most. What I liked (and what also freaked me out) was the fact that he spoke directly to me. I don't think I've talked to Santa since I was seven.

Now, I'm finally ready to welcome the holiday season. (Mind you, without a photo of me on Santa's knee.)

(The photo I posted is from our tour of Saint-Laurent-du-Var... the rest of the neighborhood photos are coming soon!)

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