SANTA DISPLAY at the BRIGHT LIGHTS
I met a woman yesterday who says she hates kids. We were both on our way to see the free Christmas display at the indoor tropical conservatory and she was worried that as it was a free day there'd be lots of children there. Of course there were as it's a great family place with the tropical plants and beautiful parrots and other birds flying around. Later on I asked if she'd been to the Van Dusen Gardens for their spectacular Christmas display. That's when she told me how she hates kids and doesn't like being where they are. I told her the gardens were very spacious and of course, being Christmas lots of family go. But most of the children love going most to the Bright Lights display in Stanley Park, and that if she doesn't like children she ought to avoid going there.
Why would anyone hate children? I've been thinking about this since our conversation, wondering what could have possible happened in this reasonably young woman's life to give her that attitude. And how could anyone hate children anyway? After 34 years of working in daycare, and raising kids of my own, I am still very fond of children and especially miss my daycare work during the holiday season. After all, Christmas is a big important season for kids. Isn't it all about the birth of the baby Jesus? And isn't there Santa Claus and toys under the Christmas tree and all that? Christmas for me has always been a magical time and even in my adulthood I still love it and enjoy going to the malls just to see the kiddies visiting Santa, watching their delight (or in some cases, fright at the old bearded man with the loud Ho! Ho! Ho!)
Today was the Santa Claus parade and unfortunately it's been pouring rain, so no doubt it put a damper on some of the fun. I've attended a few in the past along with my friend and her grandchildren. And I remember distinctly one long ago when I was a kid and we went up to Toronto for the Santa Claus parade. Here's a story I wrote about it:
As I watch children at the mall sitting on Santa’s knee, it reminds me of a Christmas when I was 9 years old. Every year the T. Eatons Company in Toronto would launch the holiday season with an extravagant Christmas parade. Grandpa suggested we take the train to Toronto for the event. I loved parades, train rides, and more than anything else Christmas and Santa Claus. But the morning of our trip I woke feeling nauseous and feverish. I didn’t tell Mom or she would have canceled the plans and spoiled it for everyone. By the time we reached Toronto I had all the symptoms of full-fledged stomach flu.
I don’t remember much about standing bundled up on the snowy street watching the parade go by; the colorful floats with mechanical toys and story-book characters, the glittering fairies, comical elves, snowmen, reindeer and clowns throwing candies to the children or the big sled carrying Santa himself greeting the crowds with his familiar “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
After the parade came we went to the big Eaton’s department store, through the impressive Toy Land to where Santa sat on his throne waiting to greet the children.
I was wearing my moss-green coat with the velvet collar that Mom had made me, and the red hat with white tassels she had knitted for the festive occasion. I felt wretched, green-around-the-gills. I clutched the candy cane Santa gave me and posed for the camera to have my photo taken with Santa. It was impossible to smile. I could feel the bile rise in my throat, my cheeks burned with fever. What if I threw up on Santa? Would he scratch my name off the ‘good kids’ list and put me down with the naughty ones?
“What would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas, little girl?” he asked in a jolly voice.
The big moment had arrived for me to put in my Christmas toy order but I was too sick to reply. I just wanted to go home and crawl into my warm bed. My greatly anticipated visit to Santa ended with me feeling utterly miserable. I only hope Santa didn’t catch my flu germs!