My letter to the General Manager at The Village at Allen about a new policy regarding pictures with the Big Guy (AKA Santa Claus)
December 7, 2009
The Village at Allen
190 E Stacy Rd Ste. 1308
Allen, TX 75002
Dear Ms. GM,
I am the parent of three young children who anxiously look forward to seeing Santa Claus every year. Samantha, 10 has special needs.
Until last year, we visited the Big Guy at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco. When word got out that the Big Guy had moved I scoured the internet until I found him at The Village at Allen. My kids loved going to see the Big Guy last year. The reindeer and children’s village were a huge hit with them. I liked going to The Village at Allen for the shopping. We all looked forward to going back this year.
We arrived an hour before the doors opened to be first in line as Sam cannot tolerate the anxiety of waiting her turn once she sees Santa. My children played with their Grandmother while I waited on queue. As a line quickly formed I thought surely they would open the doors soon. It was very cold and as one might expect in a line to see Santa, there were lots of children and babies waiting in the cold. I was informed the doors opened at 11AM. This policy should be revisited immediately.
We finally got in the door a little before 11AM. As my children were walking up to see Santa, I went to take a candid picture and was quickly informed that no outside pictures were allowed. I was also informed this was a ‘Mall Decision.’ This is the first time in nine years with the Big Guy I could not take my own pictures. I have ALWAYS purchased a photo package as well as taken candid shots of my children talking to Santa Claus. And while the posed, purchased pictures of my children with Santa are my dearest Christmas treasure, I especially cherish capturing the rapport my children have with the Big Guy while telling him their deepest wishes and hearts’ desires.
One year, when Sam was about four, she started to walk away from Santa when she was done. She paused, turned around and looked at Santa. I asked her if she wanted to hug Santa. Before she could even nod her head, the Big Guy opened his arms and Sam ran into them. If I had not taken my own candid shots, I would not have a tangible memento of this gloriously magical moment in my child’s life.
This will likely be the last year two of my children believe in Santa and I feel your business decision has stolen something from us. The awe-inspiring exchange between children and Santa may never happen again for them. And you robbed us of an opportunity to capture it on film with your selfish financial decision to squeeze a few more dollars out of an already strapped public.
I know the Big Guy is big business for you and I can not fault you for wanting to maintain or even increase your revenue. That is your job and I get it. But Christmas is not only about the bottom line. It is also about CHARITY, peace on earth and loving your fellow man. You demonstrate none of these holiday tenets. I am certain there are some families that cannot afford to purchase the picture packages; especially in these tough economic times. On behalf of all parents you are denying the opportunity to film or photograph their children’s experience with the Big Guy, I say shame on you!
I will take my children wherever the Big Guy is next year. I will take them to see him as long as they will allow me to and as long as I can find him. If he is back at The Village at Allen next year, I will go there and I will purchase my photo package. But I will not spend a single penny with The Village at Allen merchants the other 364 days of the year.