Tuesday, December 8, 2009
What about Santa?
There is a natural order to the fall of childhood myths. The birds and the bees (when a man loves a woman, he sticks his...) are nothing. The Tooth Fairy (the biggest extortionist of the bunch) usually falls quickly. All it takes are a few forgotten teeth under pillows and an older sister who knows the truth and wham, yes Zach the Tooth Fairy is a sham. Does he still get 2 bucks a tooth, hell ya, so does his sister.
The Easter Bunny (the cutest of the bunch) often falls next. So if the Tooth Fairy isn't real, what about that bunny? It isn't hard to convince a kid about the ridiculousness of a bunny that hides candy and presents in everyone's house each spring... I mean come on, a bunny. Who does it think it is Santa? At least Santa has elves and reindeer on his side. Easter Bunny, pish. Chocolate eggs and cheap dollar store gifts will still be doled out every spring, the bunny can hang out with the fairy. His work is done.
Then one day it comes. The Santa myth is debunked. It happened in my house when sister decided to upset her younger brother by telling him that she was going to write a letter to Santa explaining all the bad things he had done that year. Yep, older sisters can be that vicious. Cue the waterworks, the no, No...NOes! Throw in an I am telling, a scream for mommy and ya, older sis knew she had gone too far. How was she going to appease her screaming brother...hmmm? "Zach, Zach, Zach, it doesn't matter, do you want to know why? Cuz Santa isn't real anyway." Yep, that is sure to stop a little boy from crying. Pure big sister genius. Cue (of course) even more waterworks, desperate wails, much stomping. The sky just fell. "Mommy!!!..." sniff, sniff, sniff "...is Santa real? Emily says Santa is like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Is this true? Why mommy? Why did you lie to me?" Valid questions. Heck as adults we try our best to at least believe in the spirit of Santa. The whole power of giving, yada, yada, the magic of the season. As to why we lie about Santa... how can you not? The bugger is everywhere from mid-October on. Everyone else does it. "Zach, Santa is a myth, kinda like the Easter Bunny." Blubber, blubber, sniff. "OK mommy, you will still get me presents, right? Even if I am bad sometimes?" How could we say no? Hell he will probably get more this year then ever. With or without Santa.
This of course brings us to how, or why we celebrate Christmas at all. My partner and I are non-believers. The birth of Christ is really not something we feel compelled to celebrate. There is nothing at all wrong with the few days off. We love the gatherings of family and friends. But is hypocritical not to abstain from the rampant consumerism, the promotion of myth and the gluttony of the season? What happens when Zach does the math, the one, plus one, plus one equals no God? What do we say then? Maybe we can revert his attention back to birds and the bees. Maybe a new Lego set. What would Ben Ten do?
Happy Holidays folks. Remember to be naughty and nice.