Work-to-rule Santa

Where would Christmas be without a repeat? Here’s a rerun from 2011 … apologies if you’ve heard it all before.

At the Wafi mall this morning there was a long line of harassed-looking parents, with kids orbiting round a giant Christmas tree two houses high and decorated with baubles the size of small planets.

"C'mon Santa! You can do it!"
“C’mon Santa! You can do it!”

Barely concealing the fact they wished they were spending the morning sleeping in and reading the paper rather than queuing for Santa, the Christmas-weary parents were doing their best to keep their overexcited offspring under control as the queue inched forwards painfully slowly.

Some of them must have been waiting for up to two hours, but most remained resolute – the promise of seeing Dubai’s most authentic-looking Santa, followed by a free cup of tea and entrance to the play area, proving to be a crowd puller.

Santa’s top-security grotto was heavily guarded by toy soldiers and you couldn’t even peep at the man in red – we tried, but just found ourselves face-to-face with animatronics.

Then, at about a quarter to one, a Filipino lady appears and walks over to the queue. There’s a pause as she surveys the expectant little faces and restlessness among the ranks.

“Santa’s taking a break at 1,” she announces. No apology.

“For 30 minutes,” she continues, deadpan.

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that since he only works for a couple of weeks a year, Santa might be able to plough on through?