A YMCA that just replaced Santa Claus with somebody in a Frosty costume for the kiddie pictures this year must think children are stupid. Sure guys, no one will be able to tell you're using Christmas as a marketing ploy to rebrand the Young Men's Christian Association as a secular organization. Keep telling yourself that.
"It wasn't replacing; it was transitioning," John Rappaport, executive director of the McBurney YMCA told the New York Post. "We realized that change is sometimes good, and that Frosty is a great winter character who would appeal to a broader number of kids."
Because every kid I know is busting at the seams to hop on a giant snowman's lap and do absolutely nothing. They can't ask him for presents. They don't even believe he's real. This isn't part of some "War on Christmas" conspiracy. It's just plain ridiculous.
The most hardcore of Christians will tell you Santa Claus doesn't even represent Christmas. He's part of the commercialization of the season to the truly religious. To the rest of us, he's just a guy in a suit who our kids happen to adore. But if the Y truly believes letting kids sit on a fat guy's lap is too spiritual for their new image, replacing him with another character for family snapshots hardly seems like the best way to excise the religion. It's still buying into the notion that pictures on a character's lap are part of the holiday season.
The point of people dressing up as Santa Claus is to give those who do believe in this mystery man a chance to climb up on his lap and whisper sweet dreams in his ear. For people who don't believe in Christmas or don't believe in Santa Claus (the two are not mutually exclusive), he's generally easy enough to pass by. We do it at the malls every day.
The real problem here is the YMCA is still trying to court the kids -- and thus their families -- with holiday festivities while pretending they're not into the holidays. They expect the children to want to come sit on a character's lap so they can continue to sell the families on activities.
They're using the kids. Fortunately, children aren't stupid. They know a bait and switch when they see one. And they're not going to be happy climbing on some silly snowman's lap if he won't bring them a toy truck for Christmas ... or an iPod for Hanukkah.
Would your kids buy this fake?
Image via LadyDragonflyCC - Tinsel Time!!!!/Flickr