A Complicated Santa

Yesterday, Santa came to town and you all know how I love the annual Santa Claus Parade. This year, though... There's a rant coming and I'm not just trying to work one in every time I post, but... OK, let's have some fun first. And a lot of it was as delightful as it's ever been.

Canada Post collected letters for Santa (I can't begin to say how charming this is)

The Toronto Police contributed an old form of transportation for police officers

And a so-old-it's-new-again form of transportation

There were bands

and Bugs

More horses

the Muppets

Very deliberately not making comments about cops and donuts here



And the U of T Engineering band

The Royal Canadian Horsie Police

And now for the parts that complicated matters. I have attended every Santa Claus Parade for the last 16 years and have always had a spectacular time. Everyone were there to have a good time, to have a chat with neighbors, to get swept up in the childlike joy of the day and everyone always had a sense of making room for each other. It was a communal experience. In the last couple of years, it has become more like competitive Santa watching, with people jostling as close to the action as they can, with no awareness or concern for the people there blocking. People such as myself or, more importantly, children. It seems to be about getting your kid to the front and hang the consequences. Yesterday, a man and his family came late.to the proceedings. He had a contraption on his shoulders for his child to sit in and was therefore taller than everyone around. Yet, he parked himself in the front. And when someone who had been there since well before the parade started with two children who now could see nothing, pointed out to him that he was blocking everyone's view, he actually said "I'm sorry, I didn't realize." Seriously?

for much of the parade, this was my view

again, seriously? This woman with her stroller - because her child is too young to know what's going on - came after the parade had already started and placed herself in front of me and several children. She seemed slightly offended when we pointed this out.  Which we had to do over and over again to more people (all adults) than I could count and it just got more and more upsetting. We got the police officer who was doing crowd control in this area in on the game and I cannot tell you how many times he told people to not block the view for the kids. I have always loved that so many adults come to this parade, even when they don't have kids, but in the past couple of years, they seem to have forgotten that they are taller than children and not care who they block, as long as they get to see everything.
And it made me mad as a hatter. At one point, The Boy asked if I was cold and I told him that the rage was keeping me warm. Later, I commented on how this turned into the Bipolar Parade, because I alternated between wanting to throttle people and going "ooh, look at the penguins/Muppets/band!"

And then the screaming started. This is how you know that Santa is on his way - his arrival his heralded by thousands of kids (and adults) screaming as loud as they can. He's bigger than the Beatles. So we all rush up as close as we can, waiting to wave to Santa and for him to wave to us and say "ho, ho, ho." And here are the reindeer and here's Santa and everyone's waving and yelling and so excited (yes, the adults, too) and....

Nothing. Not one "ho, ho, ho," not one wave. Because Santa is busy taking pictures.

Okay, I guess he's allowed, but surely, he'll put down the camera and say something in a second.
Nope. Nothing.   

I'm not quite sure how you'd explain that to a child.

Update: I tweeted this post to the Santa Claus Parade organizers and they responded right away saying "Hi Lene, 1st, we'll take away the camera from Santa. 2nd, we'll post etiquette to make sure kids get the view they deserve." Couldn't have asked for a better response!