Monday, December 1, 2008

Flat Santa

Look at the picture I took just now, at my neighbor's house and without permission. It's a photo of Santa biting, apparently, the dust. Explain that to your toddler! Santa's sleeping with the earth worms until Daddy gets home from work. Then -- poof! -- Santa grows and grows until he's fat and jolly again. But it only lasts until bedtime.

Kids are going to grow up thinking Santa shares a bloodline with vampires and werewolves and other creepy critters that only come out at night. Maybe a religious nut could found an entire sect on this whole thing, with Santa resurrecting each night during the Christmas season, after having been the Baby Jesus In A Manger during the day but cleverly disguised as a puddle of Italian colors in order to save Him from the Pharisees.

Cruise through your neighborhood in the daytime and see all the colorful but seemingly dead holiday folk spread out on the ground, as if a South American military coup had happened on your own street, innocent Sugar Plums and Reindeer gunned down like anarchists. Or as if a horrible plague came through like a tornado, withering the flesh of Elves and Snowmen but leaving the color untouched.

But hope -- and Santa -- spring.

I'm always puzzled by those heart-wrenching stories about sweet, probably blond, certainly blue-eyed children -- usually girls -- finding out that there is no Santa. I'm puzzled -- and a bit miffed, too, really -- because I don't have such a story. Well, nor am I blond. Or blue-eyed. Or sweet, come to think of it. Perhaps that explains it.

In any case, I was so untraumatized by learning that there is no Santa that I don't even remember the realization. I think that's because I had (and still have) an older (by two years) brother and (by one year) sister. I assume I learned there is no Santa by osmosis, as if I were celery and the not-Santa were blue ink. Well, red and green ink, what the heck.

I would think it's even harder in a city -- instead of my girlhood boonies -- to convince a child that there is a Santa, since each store has one. How do parents explain that to kids? There was an excellent Santa at Sacred Lands this Saturday, by the way. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was the real one.

I don't even know why I'm going on about this. I really don't care. I should think that kids in any generation are pretty good at distinguishing between Make-Believe and Real. If you were traumatized by finding out that Santa is only as real as The Easter Bunny, let us know. Tell us the story. We'll feel sorry for you. Really. Even if you're a brunette.


Eunice said...

Well, I don't know about resurrecting Santa; doesn't that come nearer to Easter? But I do remember that, in 6th grade, I defended the existence of Santa in the face of all my classmates. I STILL believe in Santa -- or at least the spirit of Santa.

My heritage is Dutch and I learned, early on, that the original "Santa" was Sinter Klaas or Saint Nicholas, who (it was believed) gave children gifts on the eve of his saint's day, December 6. In our home, Santa placed gifts under our Christmas tree on Christmas eve, and also filled the stockings we hung on our bedroom doors the night of December 5.

By the time I was in 6th grade, I of course knew that Santa was represented by my mother and father. But I also associated him with the spirit of love that I learned about at home and in church, and this is the "Santa" I defended and still believe in.


Jason said...

I'm unsure of what age I was, but I remember that my Mom told me in the parking lot of Wegman's, and that I cried and was terribly hurt that my parents would LIE to me. Traumatized. I was SO traumatized that when my kids (the little ones, mind you. Donnie was too far along to stop the madness. Besides, she believed in him long after should was old enough not to.) were old enough to understand what Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Toothfairy were about, that Amy and I decided NOT to do the Santa thing.

Love, Jase

Mark said...

As long as Santa continues to allow himself to be exploited by the advocates of consumerism, he will always be clouded in controversy.
Santa's complicity with the marketing agencies who would corrupt our nations youth has enabled an ever widening personal debt to equity gap among our nations general populace.
Obama's administration would be wise to recognize that Santa is an enemy of the state. Santa and his clones should either be charged with treason or terroist activities.

skymetalsmith said...

It would be perfect timing to create a blow up economy doll. It would just be balloon type lettering that makes us feel good during the day.

It would be more real than the real one. You just pump it up everyday like the prop that it is and at night it would deflate...just like in real life.

Pi-Dave-ke said...

Santa...I don't remember just when he transmuted from "real" to make believe. I do remember having strong suspicions for some time, recalling how much one gift resembled one I had seen in a store, how another's tag had handwriting so much like Mom's, how Santa was never able to deliver the requested "hot item" that year, but always left something similar, but not the same.

Only a few years of serious doubt went by before I was recruited into the other camp to aid in perpetuating the myth. As the eldest of three, I had a responsibility to not spoil the Santa story for the younger ones. Obedient a I was, I went along with it.

You know, I think all along I knew Santa was too good to be true. Having been a parent, I was humbled by, and felt inadequate to, the task of affording, choosing, and presenting gifts that our children might prize. I think they knew that and I think they knew we were not particularly affluent. They were good kids and good adults now. And I believe they appreciated what they were given much more than I then understood.

As I ruminate over all this now, I remember thinking, way back then, that even if Santa wasn't "for real", that it was too bad he wasn't...real, that is. I mean, it IS a good idea, giving and all that. Trouble is, I thought, how do you do it all the time? Giving. It's a good thing and shouldn't we do this all year long? But wouldn't ya run outa stuff? And wouldn't the other guy get all loaded down with too much stuff? But then if you got as much stuff as you gave, you wouldn't need to buy anything for yourself, 'cept maybe some food...wouldn't need no clothes, that's for sure!

Now that I think of all that again, I guess that's where re-gifting came from.

After the Santa thing, the Easter Bunny was a no-brainer. I caught her (Mom) hiding goodies around the house after we woke her up and reminded her it was Easter! Did she really think we'd just watch TV and not try to peek around the edge of an almost-closed door while she "made breakfast"? I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I knew there was something rotten in the Easter basket that year.

Somehow I quickly learned one has to keep such disbeliefs under close guard for fear that the celebratory candy might not be dispensed in the future. I could live with the realization that...heh-heh, no rabbit hops around and leaves candy that looks just like all the stuff they sell in the store...exactly like it...sometimes even in the same PACKAGES! (Animals don't wrap things in packages, do they?) You never see them shopping is stores either. Nah, it was a hoax from the start, but a good hoax 'cause I like chocolate and peeps as well as the next guy. So I'm shuttin' up about this one. Mum's the word. Zip my lip, buddy. I'm getting the chocolate bunnies as long as I can.