There are many Holiday traditions that I simply don't understand. One such tradition is taking your dogs to go have their picture taken with Santa Claus.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not against Mall Santas or anything like that. When you are a kid, going to the mall to see the ACTUAL Santa Claus and tell him what you want for Christmas is a completely awesome experience. (I of course am the exception as I distinctly remember being pant-crappingly terrified of going anywhere near Mall Santa as a child. Apparently my general dislike of strangers even included Father Christmas himself).
I love the Idea of taking kids to see Santa when they are young. It's an experience parents can treasure, it creates a memorable moment for the kid, and its all around a good bonding experience for everyone involved.
You know who gives exactly zero fucks about Santa Claus though? Your dog.
Our furry family pets have no concept of Christmas, Santa, or generally anything besides wanting to eat food, nap and lick their own butthole. In fact, in my experience they are downright against the idea of being taken to a strange place to be plopped on a chair with a large, scary bearded stranger, and then screeched at by their owners and yet another stranger with a camera trying to get them to look in the right direction.
The entire ordeal seems generally confusing and upsetting for them. The exercise of taking the dog to see Santa is clearly entirely for the benefit of the owner without consideration for how dog feels about it.
In fact, here is a short list of things I've comprised that you can do for your dog that they will appreciate more than being taken to see Santa:
- Give them a dog treat
- Take them for a nice walk
- Throw a ball or a stick with them for a while
- Literally just do nothing and leave them alone to do whatever it is they are already doing
- Take them for a ride in the car (to a place where they aren't going to be manhandled by a festive stranger)
- Give them a nice belly rub
Further, here is a list of things you can do with your dog that they may not appreciate necessarily, but will cause them less displeasure and confusion than being trundled off for a strange and uncomfortable holiday experience.
- Read a complete Shakespeare play to them start to finish
- Register them to be a wedding officiant on a shady internet site
- Show them a series of artistic photographs of Cantaloupes
- Make them a fake ID
- Pretend you are a character on Cheers and shout "Norm!" at them every time they enter a room before returning to whatever you were doing.
When it comes down to it, I just don't get the appeal of dragging a creature who has no concept of Christmas to take a picture with Santa Claus, an experience which is clearly not enjoyable for them, purely for the sake of my own gratification.
Or at least that's what I thought about it before this:
My wife decided she wanted to take the dogs to see Santa. I articulately and clearly explained why I disagreed with the practice. I then packed the car up with two dogs and a pair of Christmas hats at 8.am on a Sunday because as it turns out I do not get a vote and therefore can shove it.
Now, I still believe all of the things I said above are true, but goddamn if watching that man in his fake beard struggle to hold my two dogs still long enough for the photographer to snap a picture as they flailed their little asses off trying to get away from him was not the best thing I've ever seen.
They hated it. They hated Santa from the top of his red hat to the tips of his pleather faux-boot shoe covers. They hated the stupid Christmas hats we put on them and they hated the noise of everyone trying to coax them to look at the camera. They are pretty well trained dogs, we constantly get compliments in public abut how well behaved they are but they were simply not having one bit of Santa.
Now, while my dogs hated this, I on the other hand could barely stand I was laughing so hard while trying to convince the photographer to take the picture when Olive was a blur of kicking feet and Griff was halfway off the chair making a break for it while Santa desperately held on to his back legs.
In the desperate confusion of writhing dogs and flopping elastic-bound Christmas hats the photographer actually managed to snap the above picture in the .5 seconds the two of them were holding still and looking in the same direction. Personally I'd have much preferred this years Christmas card to be a picture of them being maniacs, but you can't win 'em all.
If you take your dog to see Santa Claus you, like me, are totally an A-hole. You know what though? I'm alright with that because someday those four-legged little mongrels aren't going to be around anymore and you'll always have a hilarious memory and a potentially epic photo to remember them by.
Happy Holidays, A-holes.