An Ikea Christmas

I have been meaning to write a little ditty on performance, pop culture, and transformative experience – via some Christmas performance events I’ve run into over the last couple of years. Given that it is now March and approaching Easter, my Christ days are a bit out of whack. Nonetheless…

First there was the Broadway Shopping Centre incident: in early December last, I stopped for maybe the first time to watch a long line of weary kiddies and weary parents waiting to have their picture taken with Santa. Now am I mistaken, or do shopping mall Santas have a slightly seedy reputation? But as I watched this particular Santa sensitively navigate horrified, traumatised infants, and kneel down to meet a 3-year old’s favourite doll (specially brought along to be introduced to Santa), I was unexpectedly, genuinely moved: a middle-aged man with suspect job prospects takes casual employment donning a cheap, clichéd costume and through all the grim holiday cheer, manages to mold that great theatrical suspension of disbelief. I know he’s not Santa, the child thinks, but I am transfixed amidst the performance.

And then there is Ikea: some of my greatest Ikea moments have occurred over performances at Christmas-time. New Jersey, 2005: young woman with reindeer headband and portable PA carols her little heart out to synthesizer backing in cafeteria. I drink lingonberry juice (unlimited free refills) with 5 other diners. Sydney, 2008: pandemonium breaks out and meatballs go flying as live dancers work a slip of a space between the entry escalator and the ball-pit/pee-pool that is Småland (video from my mobile phone below).