Annual Holdiay Cheer: Santa Stinky!

December 23, 2011

Let me count the ways the holidays suck: Those “What We Did This Year!!!” holiday bulletins. Aunt Rita’s Fruitcake. Those annoying-ass-plastic-clam-shell thingys that all toys come in now. The line at the Post Office.  The olfactory clusterfuck coming out of every candle store at the MegaMall. “Feliz Navidad,” the Christmas song from Hades. Shall I go on?

I know, I’m a crank and a Scrooge and Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Once upon a time, when I had a life and did not have children, I liked Christmas just fine. I’d shop, wrap, schlep my butt over to my parents’ house and get shitfaced on Mimosas by 1 in the afternoon. And then take all my loot back to my apartment. What’s not to like?

But then I had kids. Christmas dies an ugly little death after you have children. Because all of a sudden, there’s this pressure to make magical memories with them. Total fucking buzzkill.

The pressure of creating the perfect Christmas for your children? It’s the reason they need to install a Valium Salt Lick in the shopping mall after Thanksgiving.

And while they’re at it, can they make the drinking fountains squirt out grain alcohol? Because mommies need that shit.

And what about that whole Mall Santa Photo Thing? There are pictures of horror-stricken, traumatized, wailing kids all over the Internet this time of year. Why do we subject our kids to this? We put them in the itchiest, most uncomfortable outfits they own, haul them down to the mall, make them wait in line for an hour with those freaks who bring their dogs to see Santa, hiss at them if they try to do anything normal, like fidget or run around, plop them into the lap of a strange bearded dude, and expect them to think, “This is Awesome!”

Now before you accuse me of snobbery and arrogance, I will admit to you up-front that I took first-born to see the Mall Santa. Guilty. I did it, and I paid out the ass for the dorky picture…oh wait. No, I didn’t.

Because I was brilliant enough to wait until my child was three years old before I took her to see Mall Santa.

I have reasons for this. The first year, I’d just given birth. The Woman with the Hemorrhoid that Ate Colorado was totally not up for Mall Santa. Also, first-born was so underweight that she looked like E.T.

The second year, first-born was going through the Winter of Oozing Eczema. Enough said.

Year three, there was nothing holding us back. Except for the fact that she was three. The Demon-Child Year.

But I, determined to get my $24.95 snapshot of Holiday Bliss, put her in the itchy dress and schlepped her down to the Megamall. On a weekend in December. Clearly, Mommy ain’t real bright.

Things went South within a half hour. First-born stormed the kiosk that carries those hand-held massager thingys. Ummm, y’all know those are vibrators, right? Massagers, my fat fanny. These particular specimens even glowed and sparkled. First-born snatched herself a snazzy pink vibrator and took off running through the mall, full-tilt. Not only did I have to chase after her, I had to drop my purse and 3 oversized shopping bags from Crate&Barrel mid-mall, because first-born is wicked fast. Finally, I tackled her, in front of the Coach store. “Hi, swanky ladies in track-suits buying overpriced bags…don’t mind me here, wrestling The Vibrator Bandit to the ground…”

And then there was the hideous wait in line, with those freaks who bring their dogs to see Santa. First-born had an irrational fear of dogs at age three; it’s a *long* 45 minutes when your toddler acts like every Shi-Tzu in a sweater is Cujo.

Admittedly, I was in a foul mood when at last, it was our turn to shine. (Hello? Can I campaign any harder for the Valium Salt Lick and the Everclear Drinking Fountain?) First-born shuffled towards Santa and then bolted, insisting, “I’m not sitting on the hairy man.”

So I did what any mother would do. I shook her and hissed into her ear, “Do it now or no Happy Meal.”

She sullenly plopped her butt on Santa’s lap and as the Mall Elf chirped, “Smile and say Snowflake!” first-born spontaneously combusted.

“Stink! Argh! He stinky-stinky!” she hollered, opening her jaws wide and chomping firmly down on Mall Santa’s wrist.

You’d think they’d prepare these Mall Santas for shit like this. I mean, kids piss on Santa all the time; can’t they handle a leeeetle nibble?

Mall Santa hucked first-born off his lap and said accusingly, “Your kid just bit me lady!”

As if I didn’t have eyes.

“She didn’t do it that hard,” I retorted. Pussy.

“She broke the skin,” Mall Elf said helpfully. Stuff it, Enabler.

“She broke the skin,” Santa repeated.

“Oh come on!” I said. “Don’t tell me one of those things (gesturing to a sweatered and cranky looking Dachshund) hasn’t ever taken a chomp out of you. Chill, Kris Kringle.”

Which is how, in December of 2004, I ended up in the office of Paul Blart:Mall Cop, filling out an inordinate amount of paperwork. I also had to take first-born to the doctor, get her blood drawn and analyzed, and fax the results back to the MegaMall. Because my kid could, you know, have rabies.

The entire ride home after the Santa Incident, first-born insisted that she had done nothing wrong. In fact, she argued that Mall Santa deserved to be bitten. Because “he stinky, Mama. Santa not supposed to stink.”

Pass the Valium Salt Lick, please.

Or a pitcher of these.

Champagne Cosmo
from Fine Cooking
serves 8 people, or 1 Mommy after a trip to the MegaMall

1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 thin strips of lemon zest
2 bottles (750 ml) brut sparkling wine or champagne, chilled

Combine the cranberry juice, Grand Marnier, and lime juice in a small pitcher and mix well. Hold a lemon strip over a tall Champagne flute, twist it to release the essential oils, and drop the zest into the flute. Repeat with seven more flutes.

Divide the juice mixture equally among the flutes. Top each flute with the sparkling wine (depending on the size of your flutes, you may not need all the wine). Serve immediately.

Author’s tip: If you have remaining champagne, inject it.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

melissa December 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

May your holiday be blissfully free of Mall Santa, Kitch. :)


Dana December 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Happy Holidays! I’ll remember your advice about the last minute gifts :P


Jennifer December 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I had not just applied my mascara for the annual get together of the step family I totally would have cried reading this. Laugh cry. I’m sure before the night is over I will be crying for other reasons.


TKW December 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm


Is everything okay? I am still not able to sit at the computer long (30 min at a whack), so if something is up, please let me know! Although the annual get together of the step family is plenty reason to cry.


C @ Kid Things December 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I’m pretty sure your Santa story wins for worst mall Santa experience. It’s because of tales like this that the last time I took my kids to see the mall Santa, 2 or 3 years ago I forget which, all they did was wave. From a very, very far distance. So worth the trip that I haven’t even tried it again since. The bearded man is better on TV, anyway. They can’t stink on TV.


absence of alternatives December 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

“Mall Santa” just reeks of oxymoron no? At least your kid did not PEE, right? And for that last minute gift idea advice, you are being adored by countless of men right now. LOL.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Amber December 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Kitch, I have never been a big fan of Christmas. Why should we buy a shitload of SHIT for kids that will break within a couple hours when there are so many MANY needs for people in foreign countries that don’t include toys made in China?

That’s why I ruled against Christmas this year in favor of Solstice. One day I might actually post about our celebrations; they were pretty neat.


Velva December 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

This is one of your classic stories, and I love it. The valium salt-lick makes me scream with laughter.



bryan December 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Love this story! Love it, Love it, Love it! Thanks for sharing.

Have a great holiday my friend! Wishing you and your family the best!


koreen December 24, 2011 at 7:30 am

Oh, Kitch! You put the holly in holiday for me. Thanks for the early morning Christmas Eve giggles! I’m glad I’m not the only one with some sense and reality.


Dawn December 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Aww….you know it’s ok NOT to do the perfect Christmas thing…right? Your kids will have great memories of family time regardless of whether or not they ever meet a mall santa…or any other kind. It’s the family time I remember, playing games, opening silly little gifts…scarfing down amazing food ( I KNOW you can do the amazing food part!)…never sat on santa’s lap as far as I know and I turned out just fine!

Hugs to you, and your mama and your family. Relax and enjoy the weekend. It’s perfect just the way it is…whatever way that turns out to be.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri December 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Thanks for the holiday laugh Kitch. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.


Ink December 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Still loving this story. Have a wonderful celebration! xo


Erica@PLRH December 25, 2011 at 9:56 am

I love this story! I think of you and eldest daughter every time I see a mall Santa. :D

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes December 26, 2011 at 8:02 am

I’m on day 1 of my ‘vacation’ with the children, I need that valium salt lick here in my living room! Or at least of pitcher of that cosmo…


Biz December 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

Loved this post KW! :D Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas! :D And I hope you had lots of cocktails to get your through :D


Katie of Cabbage Ranch December 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Awesome. This falls under the category of “thank you for saving me the trouble.” I won’t feel obligated to schlep my kid to the dreaded mall next year. And for that I thank you most sincerely. [insert curtsy here]


TKW December 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

Welcome, Katie! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll be back.


Privilege of Parenting December 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm

I was going to look for the Valium Salt-Lick on Amazon when I got to the Cosmo Idea and it seemed safer, considering the salt part, and a great use for the extra supplies from my cranberry margaritas of recent days (where the whirr of the blender became the most peaceful sound I could muster). All Good Snark and Good Cheer to you KW


Kelly December 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I’m patting myself on the back for successfully avoiding Mall Santa for 11 years and counting!


Jane December 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

You always, always crack me up. Of course, I’m laughing with, not at your misfortunes. Because you well know, we’ve had our fair share this season, too. Hope all is looking up at your place. Love you, dear friend! xoxo

p.s. I challenge your Christmas song from Hades. My pick would be “Last Christmas” originally sung by Wham! I looked it up on wiki to see how many versions of that ear curdling song existed. How many? Too many to count. I mean it. I lost count three times and gave up. HATE that Christmas song.


TKW December 30, 2011 at 10:52 am


I kinda dig “Last Christmas.” Will you ever forgive me?


Heather December 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I have so missed you. Glad you’re on the up and up…

She BIT Santa??? I’m rolling with laughter here! My guys have never really had an issue with Santa. Although, this year they started a fantastic game of 20 questions with Santa where he couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I’m pretty sure we’ll be banned from Santa next year…


TKW December 30, 2011 at 10:53 am


I read a few days ago that 31% of Mall Santas report being peed on at some point in their career. It made me wonder…”what about biters?”


Mary Lee December 29, 2011 at 7:01 pm

One of our daughters sent cute photos of her boys with Santa this year. The boys were smiling–not like they’d been standing in line in some mall for an hour. They hadn’t–they’d found an outdoor setting. According to Daughter, it’s amazing how short the wait is to see outdoor santa when there is a tornado watch.


TKW December 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

Mary Lee,

She’s a smart one, your daughter!


Privilege of Parenting December 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Hey KW, field testing this recipe. Had no Grand Mariner so I went with Cointreau and can certainly attest to this being an excellent variation. All Great Cheer for the New Year—and it’s still the 29th :)


TKW December 30, 2011 at 11:00 am


I actually prefer Cointreau. Happy New Year to you, as well.
ps: guess who’s book arrived yesterday? :)


Web 2.0 July 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

KiUGUY Great article post.Much thanks again. Really Great.


url July 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm



Web 2.0 July 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

9bmsWc Really informative blog.Much thanks again. Cool.


Zebra Zoologist July 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm

nice page you should write a weekly newsletter :)


Vanessa December 14, 2012 at 10:39 am

I no longer feel guilty that I was too selfish to ever even think of standing in line for that Santa picture. She was right though – Santa isn’t supposed to stink, even if he’s had dogs on his lap all day.


Biz December 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

I like how your drink serves 8 or 1 Mommy – ha!

I am trying to think, and I don’t remember ever taking Hannah to see Santa – probably because I couldn’t afford the picture!

Merry Christmas my Dear! Hugs and Love, Biz


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