Confessions of a mall santa

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Ho ho ho! Season's Greetings! It's the most wonderful time of the year again. The air is crisp and full of cheerful song, redolent with the sweet smell of fruitcake and honeyed ham; and we, the mall Santas of the world, have emerged from our eleven-month hibernation to reclaim our plush, tinsel-trimmed thrones. And just as in those merry days of yore, there will be one question on everybody's mind. So, to clear it up once and for all:
Yes, I am the real Santa Claus of a parallel timeline where Donald Trump was elected President eight years ago and the universe self-annihilated.

There, there! Don't feel bad. All mall Santas share the same apocalyptic burden, all of us refugees from distant worlds strung out like lights upon the sparkling Christmas tree of life. With a whimpering pop, the bulbs go out, billions of lives extinguished in an instant by a reality collapsing upon itself in madness and despair.

What's that you want for Christmas? An "ex-box?” Is that some kind of...former box? I'm sorry, my universe didn't survive long enough to develop that kind of technology!

Not that I'm complaining, no ho ho! Mississauga, with approximately six malls per capita, is the ideal place to ply my eternal trade. Every winter, without respite or surcease, countless children sit on my knee, beam up at me, eyes watery with wonder or abject terror. What a joy to listen to their innocent gibberish as I sweat under fluorescent lights and watch a teenager dressed in a culturally-insensitive elf costume sell some distracted mother a CD with three JPEGs on it for $45. The sticky sweetness of candy canes, the warm aroma of gingerbread houses, Perry Como cycled endlessly through tinny ceiling-mounted speakers, the horror of a cold, unfeeling fate...

I will never forget the look of grim resolution on the elves' faces, the winnowing cries of my reindeer team, as with a single wheezing, sniffling "bigly" the end arrived, the North Pole imploded and I was siphoned outwards by a magical trans-dimensional portal born of my own incomprehensible mystic energy.

Oh, you're still going on about that ex-box? What about marbles? Do you like marbles?

If there's one thing we mall Santas want you to know, it's that we're so much more than a beard as soft as lambswool and an enchanting disposition. Think about that, the next time you drop off your howling devil-spawn Craig on some poor old man's lap. Maybe take a moment to ask what Santa wants for Christmas this year? I can assure you, it won't be much: merely to once again feel the nurturing embrace of the world he once knew. To return to his manor above the world, to polish his tinkling sleigh bells, to ponder over his list of the naughty and the nice.

To go ho... ho... home.

Well, look at that! It's just about time to return to the painless cryosleep of my habitation pod beneath the mall. Merry Christmas to all. See you next year!