I've been an awful good girl,
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight.
- Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt
It's that most wonderful time of the year. Trees and houses decorated with twinkling lights, red bows, and holly. Mall parking lots jam packed with angry drivers cursing and beeping. School Christmas pageants and Hallmark movies made for TV. Honey baked hams and spiked egg nog that will be the catalyst for an argument between Uncle Ray and Cousin Mike (well maybe that's just Christmas with my family).
And the star of the show: Santa.
What? You thought I was gonna say Jesus? Ha! It's not PC to mention Jesus or any other religious component of the holiday. Even if the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. If folks actually celebrated that, then who would pay $500 for a Nintendo Wii because every store is sold out and they're willing to pay double the amount just to make little Timmy happy on Christmas morning? Who would stand in line for hours out front of the Apple Store to get the newest nano for their ungrateful teenager who barely even speaks to them? Who would torture their toddler by forcing them to sit in Santa's lap for a cute photo op even though the baby is scared shitless, screaming at the top of its lungs?
Maybe my cynicism stems from my upbringing. I grew up being told the truth from jump. My mom was like "The Story of Santa is a lie. He does not exist." Some would say she robbed me of my childhood. As an adult, I disagree. I'm glad she was honest. Plus I've always asked too many questions... I probably would've picked the story apart at age 5.
As a kid, Christmas was my favorite holiday. Yes, even sans the myth of the jolly one. Every year, we would go out and pick a real Christmas tree. I always liked the tall 7 footers. My grandma would come to visit and stay for about a week. She would bring her own pots and pans and take over my mom's kitchen. We would decorate the tree while singing carols with all our might. Grandma and I would make cookies on Christmas Eve. That evening, Grandma would set aside a plate of cookies & a glass of milk for Santa. My mom would go "ain't nobody gonna eat them cookies but Dark & Stormy." Grandma would be UPSET! She would tell me Santa is real and scold my mother for saying otherwise in my company.
At first I would ask questions like how does Santa know what I want since I never sent him a damn letter. And how will he get in the crib when we live in an apartment. And I know he and the elves can't make an Atari game system by hand. But afterwhile, I started playing along because it made Grandma happy and I enjoyed watching her smiling with joy in her eyes knowing I was the cause. I always knew that my mom hid the gifts in her bedroom closet. But I wouldn't peek because I preferred being surprised on Christmas day.
Once I grew up, moms better explained her reasoning for not lying to me about Santa. She said she'll never forget how she felt when she found out Santa wasn't real. Sure she wasn't scarred for life, but she felt so betrayed by her parents and family. Moms also said she'd be damned if some random a** white man took the credit for the gifts that she purchased with her hard earned money. I think her exact words were something like "they stole enough from us already."
And the most important reason being that she felt I deserved the truth.
Now that's just Dark & Stormy's interpretation of the sitchyation... I will say that I miss the days of hearing 'Away in a Manger' and 'We Three Kings'. When Christmas wasn't complete without the airing of "The Little Drummer Boy." When people didn't get into fist fights over the last talking toy on the shelf. My mom and I both had the privilege of knowing Christmas as the birth of Jesus with a little Santa sprinkled on top. But nowadays the little youngins are like Christ who? That's all good it you're not of Christian faith. But don't celebrate the holiday without celebrating the holiday. Stop fakin. CHRISTmas is its name.
So, do you tell your kids about Santa? When did you find out Santa wasn't real? Would you tell your kids the same or raise them differently?
I do wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Feliz Navidad, Habari Gani, Happy Hanukkah, and Ho Ho Ho!
Dark & Stormy