writeonthebay

The Santa Claus Conspiracy

In Family, friends, On My Mind on November 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I’m kind of a Grinch when it comes to all this Santa Claus business. I have never brought my children to take pictures on Santa’s lap because I think it is mostly cruel — all those toddlers crying on the laps of men in red faux-velvet. I mean, I’m surprised that any of my friends would even bother asking me if I want to bring my kids to a breakfast with Santa, which is exactly what happened today.

Barf. Kill me now. (Sorry Ana, I love you anyway.)

Here’s the thing. I HATE lying to kids. I hated when I was lied to as a kid, and I guess that stuck. Whenever a kid asks me a question, I want to give an honest answer. This is proving less and less comfortable a position as my daughter draws ever closer to puberty and has already asked quite pointed questions about how her baby brother got in my belly, but still.

Santa Claus? Really? It’s not even one little lie. Cuz once you get started, you just get more and more entrenched in falsehoods. Kids are curious. They want to know things like: Does Santa take a vacation? How did Santa get so fat? Does Santa bring gifts to Jewish kids? But we don’t have a fireplace. How is Santa going to get in the house?

This last question is the one I’m waiting to come up. Last year, we lived in a house with a fireplace. The house we moved into this year? Nope. No fireplace. Not even a decorative one with resin logs and little blue propane flames. I suppose we could tell them he’ll get in through the furnace chimney, but I don’t really want to hang stockings on the oil tank in our basement.

When I was little I had a book about Silver Spurs, the tiniest elf, who could fit into key holes of homes with no chimneys. It even came with a little 45 (that’s a disc-shaped musical recording that was played on something called a turntable for any of  you out there who don’t recognize such an anachronistic term) with Silver Spurs’ theme song.

Lies. All lies. No wonder my life is so wretched.

Now we’ve got The Polar Express and the cult logic of “you only hear the bell ringing if you really believe in Santa Claus”. Right.

I try to tell my kids that Santa Claus is about magic. That Santa Claus is about being generous. That Santa Claus is a legend to remind us that even in the bleakest darkest night there is still hope to be found. And that part is the truth. That is a lesson I want my kids to learn. So if I have to pretend that there’s some guy in the Arctic circle making toys to be delivered in a manic rush on Christmas Eve to teach that lesson, I guess I’m okay with that.

 

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  1. well said, when Madi was little, she was so scared that a man was going to come into our house. I have taught them that you have to believe and pass it on…. of course now that Tate is 8… things are getting dicey!

  2. no offense taken…truly, I agree on all points (except that I think the sex and body stuff is much easier). I stick with the “I don’t know” for all logistical questions like chimneys and vacations, because I don’t…anymore than I can answer the same questions about God without taking about mystery, energy, spirit, and generosity…or how I can’t prove any of it, but I feel it…I give it back to them to ponder…how do you think it works? Santa is about giving, unconditional worthiness, not caring who gets the credit. That same spirit just works through the parents in execution. Just like stories about Jesus, Buddha (and any number of others) and trips to soup kitches and goodwill stores can give kids a concrete story to see that in their lives, this one is alittle more tangible and fun(ok, absurdly more…our world is going too far of course). I do feel stuck in the cultural tradition of a pic; was just hoping it was incidental (and convenient!) over with breakfast with friends 🙂
    you be the grinch…I’ll be cindy lou hoo 🙂

  3. so your kids don’t bring you the paper advertising breakfast with santa and beg to go??? ugh.

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