Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Santa Claus is a glory hog: Can I please tell my kids the truth?
But here's my beef with Santa: he's not real. I'm sorry if this broke your spirit to hear it from me. Just don't read this out loud to your children if you want them to believe the fallacy until the eyes of innocence surrender to the weight of evidence to the contrary. Like closets full of toys that wind up under the tree with Santa's name on them. Hmmm...
Now, I never really thought about this until having my own children, but now that I do, Santa ticks me off. After Christmas, my son, 4, told me he wanted to write Santa a thank you letter for bringing him all his little heart desired. While I'm grateful he's grateful, the gratitude is completely misdirected. Away from parents. We put the time, blood, sweat, and money to making that boy's Christmas memorable. Santa? He just sat on his imaginary rump and took the credit. I can assure you Santa didn't make anything my children got for Christmas, unless he got a $1.23/month job at a Chinese factory. I can also assure you he didn't deliver any of the presents, unless he was wearing a brown uniform and shaved his beard. And I can especially assure you he didn't build the kids' kitchen set. I did. And egad was it a big project. The thanks I get? "I'm so glad Santa got me all the things I wanted!" Well, call me old-fashioned, but I don't like being mistaken for a fat old man who wears a red suit and sneaks down people's chimneys at night and eats all their cookies.
Why can't I just tell my kids: "You know, Santa is fiction. Like Harry Potter, only harder to believe. Every toy you're now enjoying? That's me and Mommy. Why don't you write me a thank you letter?" I don't think I even got a verbal "thank you" for anything I gave the kids openly from Daddy and Mommy. Although they have repeatedly expressed how happy they are with what they got.
I guess the hard part of this is that society teaches them to believe. And we parents love the innocence it takes to believe such tales. So we reinforce it. We even brought our children to our church Christmas party where Santa came. Our son informed Santa he wanted a "toy combine tractor" which he had seen in a store. He thought it would be easier for Santa to just go buy it than make it himself. (It is. Trust me. I made a play kitchen, remember?) Our 3-year-old daughter sulked on an unknown man's lap until he finally put her down with a candy cane. Anyway, days later, when someone asked my son if he knew what he was getting for Christmas, he nonchalantly said, "A toy combine tractor."
"What if you get something else?"
"I'll get it. I talked to Santa about it."
And us sucker parents, who had already gotten him something else, couldn't crush the simple faith of our child in a fictional glory hog. So he got a "toy combine tractor" and the other present, which he loves as well. Does anyone else see something wrong with that scenario?
I vote for a world without Santa. For parents' sake. A world where I can shower my children with gifts and they in return shower me with love and affection. Besides, isn't Christmas supposed to be about He who bears its namesake? I think a better way to celebrate would be to tell the kids that Mommy and Daddy picked all the presents and paid for them, built them, or ordered them because we love them. But, it is Christ who gives us all things, right down to the holiday itself. Without Him, there'd be no Christmas. There'd be no presents. There'd be no us. If we emphasize that instead of Santa Claus, wouldn't the holidays be more complete?
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids open and play with their new toys. Now excuse me while I brainstorm how to kill off an old, fat, one-man-show so I can get a thank you letter from my appreciative son.