On the Couch with Jasminda



Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our FOUR News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of [email protected] and include your title, initials and suburb.

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Dear Jasminda,

I don’t think I have it in me to endure the obligatory Santa photo this year. My kids are seven, five and three. Do you have any suggestions?

Mrs LC, Soldiers Point

Dear Mrs LC,

I’m not sure what your issue is with this fine Christmas tradition. What could be more enjoyable than standing in a queue that spans the entire circumference of the local food court with other screaming . . . I mean smiling mums and dads and their well-behaved offspring, all waiting patiently for their special time with the man in red?

What could possibly bring more goodwill than joining together as babies howl at being placed on a strange man’s lap, photographers dance with stuffed toys to encourage the money shot, mums wipe spittle from toddlers and dads discuss how much they love forking out for cellophane, solar lights, baubles, LOL Surprise toys, hams, turkeys, prawns, cherries, drones, Lego sets, remote control cars with no batteries, trampolines that need an engineering degree to set up, with stealth, on Christmas Eve, and those boxes of toilet rolls wrapped in gold paper that contain a paper hat and a choking hazard (better known as Bon Bons).

My children have always been forced to endure the great tradition of a Santa photo, particularly now they are surly teenagers. The one exception was last year when the queue was worse than every other year combined. Thankfully, the bearded man in the queue behind me had a similar body mass index to jolly old Mr Claus. I asked him to don one of the Santa hats I had in my shopping trolley, took a quick snap with my IPhone, and tried to ignore my kids as they whined “how embarrassing” all the way home.

I do believe, Mrs LC, that the answer could be a new innovation that just occurred to me. Let’s call it the Santa Line Sitter (SLS). It involves paying obliging teenagers $10 to babysit your children until they reach position number two in the Santa queue. They’ll be happy, because they can stay glued to their devices, and you can do all your Christmas shopping. A quick text message notification and you can casually return to the queue, get the photo (or the 15 photos, digital pic, fridge magnets, postcards and Christmas mug upsize version) and be off on your merry way. The teenagers could be rated via an app, to make sure they are fine, upstanding queue sitters. I think, with a bit of tweaking, it’s a winner.

Carpe diem,

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