In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking. I really don’t know what he was thinking, but I don’t know what I was thinking either. The gigantic pizza slice costume was one thing, but this, this was something else entirely. But nonetheless, there I was, standing in the middle of the pizza restaurant where I worked, in a Santa costume feeling stupider than I’d ever felt before.

The customers you could tell, were even a little embarrassed for me. I looked like an idiot. But the district manager had gotten the inane idea in his head that for having “Santa’s Helper” in the store for Christmas Eve would somehow bring flocks of customers in for lunch.

What he didn’t know could fill volumes. Sort of like the time he taken me aside, just as I’d gotten four new tables who were all waiting for me to get them drinks to whisper conspiratorially, “I think someone is stealing…cheese.”

But I needed the extra money because it was my son’s first Christmas, and as a single mother who was also in school full time, I took every shift that I could lay my grubby hands on. Debasing or not, it was money in my pocket.

Shockingly, no one actually wanted to have their picture taken with “Santa’s Helper.” I’m not sure if it was the yellowed, fraying beard, or the fact that my pants fell down about every third step that I took, or that I was obviously a very young female, but no one seemed interested. In fact, everyone seemed to avoid me, which was just as well. I used the time to get caught up on my homework. No rest for the wicked.

Finally, just before I was to go home to my son, some family was badgered into having their picture taken with “Santa’s Helper.” Perhaps they hadn’t seen me. Maybe they didn’t like their kid very much. Or maybe everyone just had a fantastic sense of humor. Who knows.

All that I do know is that they thrust their tiny baby onto my threadbare lap. And all that the baby knew was that one minute, she was burbling happily on her mother’s shoulder and the next, she was shoved onto this stinky scary bearded lady in an saggy red Santa Suit. She did the only sensible thing to be done in such a situation: she opened up her wee baby mouth and she bellowed. She screamed, she cried, and she wailed.

The picture was taken and a phobia of Santa was formed. This poor kid was going to grow up terrified of Santa. Jumping at holiday displays and wondering why the thought of Christmas always made her feel nervous and nauseous, always trying to get out of festive celebrations in favor of sitting in front of the television with her twelve cats and a pint of ice cream.

It would all be my fault.

Satan’s Little Helper.

17 thoughts on “Satan’s Little Helper

  1. allthe normal little boys and girls like santas helper. The dislexic ones dont like satans helper.

    You didn’t scare her, just discovered her dislexia at a young age. My how helpful you are!

  2. Oh, the indignity of the things that we will do to feed our hungry crotch parasites. But what I really wanna know- what happened to the guy that stole the cheese? Did he get busted??

  3. Dressed up Santa’s in general freak me out. I never knew why. Maybe I do now. Thank you for helping me to avoid years of costly therapy. Now if that could also explain why I’m fat… I’d be set.

  4. I was dreading the ending I was sure this story would have where you had leaked breastmilk all over some stranger’s kid in their family picture with santa’s little helper. I’m glad the kids cries didn’t make you drop any boob juice on anyone.

  5. If I ever work in retail I want to do it during the holiday season as Satan. If for no other reason than it gives me a good excuse to hire young females to serve as one of Satan’s minions.

    Good times are coming.

  6. Haha, seriously, I’d love to see a photo captured of that, especially the part where the tiny baby was forced on you. Those moments are priceless. And I can totally see why Santa scares a lot of kids. But could you really have been *that* bad that nobody wanted to sit on your lap?!

    Single Dad Laughing

  7. I was once Frosty the Snowman at the grocery store. It was Christmas in Minnesota, and yet it was a million degrees in that suit. I was 16 and delighted that I’d found a way to make money and all I had to do was wander the grocery store in a humiliating outfit–plus no one could tell who I was. But it was hot as Hades in that suit. So every once in a while, my friend (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) and I would go hide in the diaper aisle (what was the logic there? That it was the place kids were least likely to end up?) and take off our gigantic costume heads so we could breathe nontoxic air for a minute.

    I regularly wonder, as I look at my own kids and all that they see and believe and endure, how many kids I totally traumatized by forcing them to watch a beloved Christmas character remove its head.

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