It’s the holiday season again, and of course we know the true meaning of Christmas, as it is celebrated in America… Money. Lots of it. Presents, decorations, food, and driving all over the place. Nowhere does xmass quite like America, except maybe China, since most of what we buy comes from there.
My daughter is almost 9, and still believes the Greatest Story Ever Told. I’m talking of course about Santa Claus (it’s Claus, people, NOT Clause, that was the Tim Allen movie). And I use the term “story” in jest.
I have found myself in a number of schools, and it seems that in the south at least, the word Lie is a swear word, much like “sucks” and “screwed”. Teachers prefer to use the term “told a story” or “he’s storying”. Bull. A story is something in a book, preferably with pictures. A falsehood is a lie, it’s NOT a “story”.
So, we’ve been dropping subtle hints, trying to eliminate all vestiges of the Santa Claus mythos. Why did I ever lie to her to begin with? We could have started off with “it’s Jesus’ birthday, but since he won’t come visit and pick up his presents, we’ll just buy what we want and keep them”. That makes about as much sense…
Thankfully my wife’s parents long ago came up with the ultimate reasoning for why kids can’t have everything they want. The solution: Tell the kids that Santa makes and brings the toys, but sends mom and dad a bill after Christmas. So, that’s what we did as well. It makes sense, and follows logically into eliminating the Obese Elf in the red suit committing burglary one night a year (How is this not scary? A strange, apparently immortal creature breaking into your house?).
So, subtle hints like “Is that what you want us to buy you for x-mass?” and “We’ll buy you this comforter for x-mass, but we have to wrap it and stick it under the tree until December 25th” have been flying around the house for the last couple of days. It hasn’t phased her yet, as far as I can tell. The past few years she has been upset that before x-mass, mom and dad and friends have lots of stuff under the tree, but she has nothing in boxes. Having to explain this mythical being brings her presents, but mom and dad have to buy each other’s, has been kind of weird. Hopefully she’ll figure this out in the next six weeks.
You can’t just go cold turkey on a lie that you’ve been told for 9 years. Getting up on the 25th to no presents, only to be told “Santa is made up”, would be quite a shock to the system. You can’t tell me some of the older kids in school haven’t spilled the beans… School teaches so many other life lessons, it’s hard to believe a fifth grader hasn’t overheard them, only to say “it’s your parents, doofus!”
So it remains to be seen whether we have to buy extra wrapping paper, or if we have to make one more midnight trip into the attic this year.