Your Kids Are Bumming Out The Mall Santa

The Wall Street Journal says that this year, mall Santas are spending their breaks looking bleakly at the wall and salting their mugs of bourbon with bitter tears. Why? Because your kids keep sitting on their laps and acting like characters from a Loretta Lynn song. One Santa used to joke that bad kids would get socks, but no more:

This year, he stopped telling the joke. Too many children were asking for socks. “They’ve probably heard their parents say, ‘Geez, I wish I had some money to get them clothes,'” says Mr. Riemersma, 56 years old.

According to the article, the annual pile of letters to the North Pole are also a good way to see what parents are worried about–last year a lot of the letters were of the “help us keep our house” variety, while this year they’re about finding jobs in 2010. That’s also happening to the Santas, apparently: one little girl in the article asked a Columbus, Ohio Santa to turn her dad into an elf, so he could find work at the North Pole.

A Santa-training school in LA says they teach their Santas to expect the inadvertently sad Christmas wish, and to quietly refer the parents to local charities that might be able to help.

“For America’s Santas, It’s Hard to Be Jolly With the Tales They’re Hearing” [Wall Street Journal]