Pity poor Santa. Time was, when he came to visit, he was put up in a splendid grotto. Maybe a castle or a gingerbread house. It would be festooned with decorations. (don't you love that word "festooned"? you rarely get a chance to use it nowadays), there would often be a white picket fence beside the path you had to walk along to get inside his grotto. There would be elves to help you and to hand out candy canes. Long after I stopped believing in Santa Claus, we would make the rounds of the malls to visit his grottos (and maybe embarrass an elf or two into giving us candy canes just to go away...). There was a friendly competition among the various malls into providing the most fanciful, most original grotto for this most honoured guest. It was a spectacle you looked forward to seeing.
Now, he doesn't even seem to have a dwelling at all. His massive chair has been reduced to a bench with a bit of green behind him. Nothing special, or magical, or even noteworthy. After getting your picture taken with Santa, the rest is photo shopped in. Like 'magic 'you can have your image in front of a small ramshackled house with a crooked wooden sign saying "North Pole", or out in a snow covered wood, or in front of the massive tree in the mall. That is hardly memorable years later when you look on the old tattered photo. Santa's lair simply cannot compete with a Swarovski laden 35' tree.
Especially when they dim the lights and it begins to snow! Inside the mall! Every night at 7pm, a crowd gathers around the tree, the snow fairy appears and the lights dim. "Let it Snow" softly starts wafting through the speakers, and from the high ceiling of the Eaton Centre, bubbly snow falls and drifts... it is magical.