I thought it fitting to punctuate a post about Santa with the universal invitation to debauchery.
When Max was three years old he decided that Santa Clause was a creepy old bastard to be watching everything kids do. Since I’ve always thought this myself it was hard to keep up the pretense that the man in the stupid suit and fake facial hair wasn’t a pedophile getting lap dances from children for fucking free.
I said none of this to Max, obviously. His real concern was that Santa could watch him even when he’s pooping. Which, at three, is about as humiliating as anything gets. He had this thought after listening to some carol at preschool in which kids were warned that Santa knows whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Max wanted to know how can he tell? Can he see EVERYTHING we do?
If you’re trying your hardest not to destroy the whole Santa fantasy for your kid it’s a very difficult question to answer. If I were to say “No, because Santa isn’t real” – POOF! – there goes all things magical. But if I maintain that Santa is all magical and shit then I could only answer that yes he can see everything.
So Max decided, at three, not to believe in Santa and I was relieved not to have to make a big deal about letters to creepy fictional characters or pretending to believe in elves and other twinkly things that make my skin itch.
Then when he was eight years old he sprung a shocking 360 on me and announced that he really did believe in Santa and wanted to know if I did too.
What do you say after years of not having to discuss this magical creep? I have been unguarded for years about this and suddenly my kid is looking longingly at me to resurrect the Christmas dream for him? I have no memory of how I handled that crisis but I do recall that there were a couple of presents under the tree purportedly from the big red suited guy up north. I believe the same ruse was attempted last year though I don’t recall any specific discussions about the uneasy subject, possibly due to the proper amount of beer being consumed throughout “the season”.
Last week Max announced that he officially doesn’t believe in Santa Clause.
For most kids they blithely believe in the fantasy until their childhood innocence is destroyed by the discovery that Santa isn’t real and that’s the moment they become wizened deflated hopeless children who will immediately turn their magic-less hearts to sex, drugs, and crime.
My kid just waffles back and forth. What I love about this is that he has taken complete charge of what he will and won’t believe in. Didn’t believe in Santa last year? No problem, life doesn’t end, people believe and then don’t believe in God all the time, right? You can change your mind about it any time you like if you are in control of your own head, heart, and mind.
What I don’t love is the Santa whiplash.
I will always cherish the fact that my three year old thought it was creepy for any being to be able to watch him go to the bathroom without his express permission.
What I don’t get is how hard some parents work to keep their kids’ belief in Santa alive. What’s the big deal? So what if a kid stops believing in the agoraphobic man in the north pole? (c’mon! He leaves the North Pole ONCE A YEAR, and at night so no one can see him also watching children sleeping which you’d totally send your neighbor to prison for doing)
It’s almost as though parents are trying to reinvent their childhood through their children, to resurrect all their crushed dreams, and to make a life for their kids that they never had or that was taken from them or that no one has but that everyone wants… like a Rockwellian ideal of childhood gleaned from magazine spreads.
Wait, that’s the whole reason why parents have babies in the first place!*
I have to say that I haven’t tried to do any of these things with my kid. Sure, I don’t abuse him because that would be modeling my parenting off of my personal demons, but I wouldn’t abuse him anyway because it’s wrong to abuse anyone. Period. As far as recreating the childhood I wish I’d had? I don’t wish for a childhood I didn’t have. Yeah, it would have been nice if it was more stable, less frightening, but how can I get nostalgic over something I never had? What bloody use would it be to pine for simpler times that never were? Why would I waste time trying to give my son something that will set him up for disappointment as soon as he realizes it’s all just pretend anyway?
Finding magic in Christmas without fictional stories, whether biblical or pagan in nature, is not that hard. Magic doesn’t have to be a fake world. Why can’t it be enough for people to celebrate making it through the winter? Why can’t it be enough to gather with friends and family simply in the spirit of love and helping each other through this nightmare of an economy that Bush’s regime gifted us all with? Share food, drink, laughs, blankets, heaters, socks, and lots and lots of alcohol- these things are binding.
If you don’t think it’s magical to have a home to go to at the end of the day then give your home up cause I guarantee you that you will see how magical food, water, shelter, and a tribe really are if you don’t have them. No Santa required. Complete magic!
Decorating is fun and never has to be expensive and even I, a curmudgeon of the first water, love to see all the holiday decorations. This is what I enjoy with my family. We walk around and notice people’s decorations and we decorate our own living room and tree too. It’s simple inexpensive enjoyment. And some people can’t even afford that. So I feel it, I feel it keenly that I get to be inside under the Christmas lights for another year.
*Aside from enjoying having unprotected sex and appeasing their hormones.