What better way to celebrate Black Friday and the start of the holiday season than with a debate. Last year, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I saw that Santa’s sleigh, the highlight of the parade and the “official” symbol of the start of the holiday season, had for the first time in 40 years, been changed. As described by a Macy’s press release, the new sleigh is “depicting Santa’s travel on Christmas Eve, we see good old St. Nick as he leaves the North Pole on his magical journey. The North Pole is showcased by Santa’s Toyshop home and by a giant ice and granite obelisk that is supported by ice sculptures of a Walrus and a Polar Bear. Santa’s Sleigh is a colossal float that measures 60-feet long, 22-feet wide and is 3 1/2 Stories tall. As Santa leaves the North Pole he flies over his home and begins his worldwide voyage sure to make children of all ages, BELIEVE!”
Well, I didn’t believe. I am a fan of the old sleigh. It was a gorgeous carriage, 50 feet long, lined with plush green velvet and trimmed with Swiss silver bells. It was the shape of a winter snow goose, with a crown around its neck and a bell in its beak. Pulling the sleigh were 12.5-f00t-tall reindeer with exaggerated 8-foot antlers. Behind it was a 25-foot wreath.
I understand the change. You had to be pretty close to the thing to see Santa as he was wrapped in the feathery embrace of the snow goose throne. If you were seven, eight or nine rows back from the route (as most people watching the parade are nowadays), good luck getting a decent picture to show the folks at home. On the new sleigh, you can see Santa from the moon. It’s big, it’s out there. But to me, it’s missing something. Personality?
Cue the debate. One colleague says the old reindeer were “creepy looking” and the new reindeer look friendlier. To some, Santa is creepy anyway — a stranger breaking into your home, eating your food and digging through your socks.
So, which sleigh do you prefer? The old goose or the shiny new green sleigh? See the two photos above: the first features Santa’s new sleigh, the second has the old sleigh, with an inset of the supposedly scary reindeer (you are so wrong, Brianna).