Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Plague of Santas

EVERYWHERE you turn there’s another one. It’s a positive plague of Santas, I tell you. Santas in shopping centres, Santas at the beach, Santas in the street, Santas at Christmas parties (Okay fair enough!)

And some of them, you just know are fake, the ones who every year help out the REAL Santa. You can pick ‘em; the skinny ones who look so anorexic and gaunt, like they’ve skipped lunch for the past 12 months hunched over their spreadsheets. Where is that wobbly as a plate of jelly tummy. Hmm?

And the ones with thick black eyebrows and coke bottle glasses and the ones with flat beards like Mrs Claus had a neurotic fit under the pre-Christmas pressure and insisted on ironing his beard. “Oh dear, I’m sorry darling. It’s come out a bit... umm how can I say this...flat.”

But this is after all Australia, so Santa just doesn’t arrive in a boring old sleigh with a team of exhausted reindeer. Oh no, we have Santas on utes, Santas on horseback, Santas on Harleys, Santas in surf boats and now the latest Sunshine Coast trend in the way of Santa transport, is aerial.

I took the family to the beach to escape the Santa plague. Sitting on a grassy patch at Mooloolaba, trembling in fear of another Mintie-pelting Santa, I looked up among the clouds to see this familiar red and white figure swaying and waving madly from a parachute dragged by a speedboat. A parasailing Santa! Ugh! Is nothing sacred!

Yes, but that’s nothing. NOW I have seen the ultimate. There we were, 400 excited adults and kids at the Primary School Carols By Candlelight. The tension was mounting with the imminent arrival of Himself with all eyes skyward. First came the helicopter. Can this be Him? No it was simply Santa’s very attractive helper in a red flared mini. (That tiny waistline looked like it had never seen a rumball or second helping of calorie-rich pud.)

Santa’s helper and her minstrel friend did a sterling job of entertaining us with a few bars of Santa Claus is Coming to Town but as the storm clouds brewed, the anticipation was almost unbearable. And then it happened. A tiny speck appeared off in the distance direct from the North Pole. And from a little Cessna at 5000 feet, he did it. Santa jumped. With a collective gasp of amazement, the old boy in the red suit actually jumped.

Rumour has it that this particular daredevil Santa had never parachuted before. Fancy choosing to perform your very first jump in front a huge crowd! Now that’s brave! There he was falling from the sky in tandem with a man in black Lycra who thankfully looked like he’d done it before.

Poor Mrs Lowrey. The much-adored Grade Two teacher had only two weeks earlier undergone the ordeal of giving birth. As she watched Santa (who bore a strange resemblance to her husband) plummeting to the ground, her curly locks stood on end and the blood drained from her face! She didn’t exactly need this kind of panic. I mean it was hardly the right time to become a widow!

When Santa staggered to the stage he was very pale and his words were somewhat slurred and incoherent. He was muttering something about how it was good to be in Auckland and cracking jokes about losing his presents at Mount Everest and singing about his mate, an old swaggie who jumped, not out of a plane, but into a billabong.

What a spectacular performance. The stunt Santa whizzed off in Rudolf, the red-nosed sports car with a police escort. Santas of the 90s. They’re such fun guys!

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