Christmas comes but once a year, now it’s here, now it’s here. Christmas comes but once a year, tra la la la la. The arrival of the holiday season brings with it that most venerable of American institutions– the mall Santa Claus. After enjoying decades of favorable public opinion, the mall Santa Claus has recently taken a severe lashing in popularity as the checkered details of the trade emerge. The Santas owe their collective misfortune in large measure to charges of degeneracy, perversion, financial scandals, a string of tragic Tim Allen films (largely associated with cash-mongering), degeneracy, and, increasingly, perversion.
But who are these oafish imposters? The Talking Mirror spoke with mall Santas across the country in an effort to uncover the lives behind the laps. In the process, we learned more than just the current state of the mall Santa Claus. We learned about the state of the economy, the nature of addiction, and maybe, just maybe, a little something about ourselves. Due to space restrictions, and the proclivity of most Santas for profane and offensive language, we have decided to print only one interview. However, one should be sufficient as each mall Santa is, at his core, identical to all the rest.
Chad Blagojevich – Mall Santa
Hi. My name is Chad Blagojevich and I’m a mall Santa. And no, I’m not related to that Blagojevich; no, I did not get my seat by some “pay to play” scheme. My family is Serbian. What’s the big deal?
So, the Talking Mirror wanted to do a little investigative reporting this holiday season. They asked me to be brutally honest, so I’ll just be brutally honest right now. The holidays aren’t easy for me. I’m bumping up against morbid obesity and I have a beard that’s only attractive to Hasidic Jews (hipsters hate me because of my weight). I’m three times divorced, a Nam veteran, and the proud owner of a Maine Coon cat named Don Bacardi that I have to feed daily. So, yeah, this job is pretty clutch for me. Here’s my schedule from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
10:30am- Wake up. Usually to the musical stylings of The Boston Philharmonic’s Christmas Spectacular, usually snuggling with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels.
11:00am- By about now I’ve pulled my head out of the toilet long enough to make breakfast. I’ll eat some Fruity Pebbles, maybe have a “breakfast shake” (Miller Lite or something), and usually I’ll try to eat a bunch of fudge before I suit up.
11:45am- I’ve showered and donned the ole red and white. In case you want to know, yes, I own my own suit, no, it has never been washed (who can afford dry cleaning?) and no, you can’t borrow it for New Years Eve.
1:00pm- After about an hour commute by public transit, I’m in my chair, ready to start receiving the kiddies, the homeless, and whoever else. There are a few questions I get consistently. Things like, “Santa, how do you travel the whole world in one night,” or, “Why is your face so red,” or, “Where are your reindeer parked,” or, “Why does your breath smell like my step dad?”
So from about 1:00 to 6:30, I sit in that chair and pretend to be someone I’m not. I get a mandatory union break on the hour for 10 minutes. Usually, I’ll run in the back and grab a nip of the ole egg nog or maybe swing by the Wet Seal and peek at Claire from behind the sweater racks.
Otherwise it’s nothing but boredom, bourbon, and bitchy moms. In a way, I’m kind of like a trucker just with less dignity somehow. But I’ve learned to deal. Sometimes I’ll pass the time by telling the kids that last year’s cookies sucked, or that their brother is getting all the good stuff this year, or that I killed Santa and am just wearing his clothes, stuff like that. They get a real kick out of it, or at least I do.
Speaking of kids, I’ve hosted more than my share of little people on my lap, and generally they fall into six basic categories:
- Kids who will grow up to be huge corporate dicks.
- Kids who cry and urinate uncontrollably at the site of me.
- Kids whose moms I would like to do.
- Kids whose moms I would not like to do.
- Kids who are already fatter than me.
- Sorority girls who want something cute but a little ironic to post on Facebook. (Who I’d like to do.)
That’s pretty much a day in my life during Christmas. But, even though I’m a mall Santa, I like to party. Sure I’ve got problems, but who doesn’t, right? My name is Chad. I work at the Oak Brook Mall. Hit me up for a good time. If you want. Or not. Whatever. Merry Christmas and stuff.
This little piece of Christmas cheer was provided to us by Ryan K. Hodgen. Mr. Hodgen is a Ph.D candidate at Marquette University. He has never left the state of Wisconsin and doesn’t see any reason to as long as Miller Genuine Draft is still being served in Milwaukee. He is currently listening to A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar by Dashboard Confessional.