Deck the Malls

To you, what best epitomizes the beauty of the holiday season? Is it a midnight Mass? A child's delight on Christmas morning? Serving food to the homeless?

Yeah, well, good for you, Norman Rockwell. It's good to know that people like you exist, to counterbalance people like us, who prefer a crowded, ornate, holiday-bedecked shopping mall.

We're shallow that way. But we do give and get--emphasis on get--a lot of good stuff for Christmas.

Malls across the city will be putting on their holiday finery for the post-Thanksgiving shopping crowds, and perhaps none has finer finery than Dallas Galleria, that cathedral of unabashed materialism.

We like to think of it as our own little Vatican City.

To give shoppers a break from their desperate search for those rare store clerks who know how to work a cash register and aren't hiding in the stores' break rooms--we think there are two of them--the Galleria will offer some entertaining distractions from crass consumerism. Among them are what the mall boasts is the United States' tallest Christmas tree, an 85-footer decked with 100,000 lights that will twinkle and "dance" to orchestral music five times a day during "illumination celebrations." Bigger yet are the weekend "grand tree lightings" that feature an ice-skating show starring a Santa Claus who does back flips and shoots fireworks from his gloves--and what a grand, solemn traditional way to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace that is.

Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a box or a store, as the Grinch learned at the end of the Dr. Seuss tale, but it's a good place to start looking.