|...and laying a finger aside of his nose-ring...|
Parents photograph the whole scene to use as evidence, should the kids later recant their confessions and commence misbehaviour. A key part of this cultural practice is that surrounding grown-ups must say things like 'ah how cute' and categorically refuse to acknowledge that Creepy Claus is clearly a big phony.
|If the Grinch could do it, then so could Creepy Dog.|
I hear that our Santa imposters are pretty tame compared to the uber-scary Swiss ones, who travel with evil whip-wielding sidekicks, and pack kidnap bags for the naughty kids (thanks for the info, Sheena). And anyway, according to the eleventy-hundred good parenting manuals I should have read, threats covered in treats-clothing are crucial to the cultivation of good behaviour. You see, after a date with fake Santa, kids will be super-thankful for their Christmas presents and act like angels for months, or until all memory of him has passed (so possibly only a few minutes).
I do my best to respect local custom, so last week my girls went for their annual review with fake Santa. And there we met the jolliest, fattest, beardiest Santa imposter imaginable. I can only assume the agency hired him over the phone, or made an administrative mistake. I waited for him to speak in a scary voice, or pull out some other Scroogey trick, but he remained a kind, grandfatherly type throughout the interrogation.
Wise one that she is, Ali howled like a banshee anyway to indicate that she knew her place in the ritual, and felt genuine remorse for her sins. Ana looked bored, irreverent, borderline half-asleep. But in fairness, not even the Grinch would make Ana nervous. In fact she rather identifies with that guy.
Santa imposter ritual complete, I'm off to stock up on Who-hash and roast beast for the big day.