The cultural climate is just getting brutal at this point, giving me one more reason to at least be thankful I'm not a kid right now.
Aside from the general economic malaise felt world-wide and, more immediately, the future awkwardness of their teenage years, kids now can't even count on Santa Claus for a little dose of emotional rescue.
In addition to the general training that Mall Santas receive such as beard maintenance and preparing those gleeful dispositions for interactions with hopeful children, now Santas are receiving training to quickly assess the financial status of a child's family in order to impose more realistic expectations of what the kids can expect to find under the Christmas Tree on December 25th.
Predictably, the Twitterscape had some sentimental paroxysms:
Do we really want Santa to be proficient in scaling back children's expectations?
This just in... Santa school is teaching to lower kids expectations! THIS is what the world is coming to!
Santas are being trained to lower kid's expectations because of the recession. Ask Santa for a train set he’s like, ‘how ‘bout a bus token?’
Osborne's projections are based on a tidy conclusion to the Eurozone meltdown. And my Xmas presents expectations depend on Santa being real.
How do you even attempt to minimize the expectations of a young human to whom, aside from the possible exception of birthdays, Christmas Day is the most exciting day of the year. It's one thing that Santas have to explain on the fly how they defy the space-time continuum by visiting each house on Christmas Eve or what they feed their reindeer; it's another to economically profile someone who can't really even conceive of money beyond the limits of an allowance. Awful. In my polluted and despondent imagination, I envision this kind of exchange:
Santa: So tell me, Phillip, what would you like for Christmas this year?
Phillip: I really want the new Zelda game, Skyward Sword. It looks awww-some!
Santa: Oh-ho-ho, well, that's a pretty big request there!
Phillip: I know, I've been thinking about it everyday!
Santa: Hm, well, Phillip, I don't know if my elves are going to be able to find that for you this year. What about this stick with a string tied on it?
Santa: Or how about this inner tube? It hasn't been used too much.
/cue shattered dreams.
Godspeed, you cherub-faced saints.