We traveled through Montgomery this weekend, and stopped at a lovely little coffeeshop called Cafe Louisa in Cloverdale. While enjoying hot tea and a bagel with smoked salmon, I read this article in the Montgomery Advertiser. It seems that, as if today’s parents don’t have enough to worry about, now those smarty-pants kids are using technology to find out whether Santa is for real. To begin with, there are those commercials advertising robo-Santa calls, emails from Santa, and the like, which one station apparently aired during the Christmas parade (hey, what better time?) But this is the one that made me fire up Facebook:
Kyla Kelim of Alabama, caught her oldest, a 9-year-old boy, on her iPad playing Santa sleuth a week or so ago.”We’re so close with him this year, not believing,” she said. “He was Googling ‘santa,’ and I saw him type the word ‘myth’ when I grabbed it and said no electronics. I’m constantly having to follow my phone and iPad and stuff around right now. We’re trying not to debunk Santa for our 7-year-old.”
Honey, please. To quote my Facebook status: “If your kid can type “Santa” and “myth” into Google, it’s already over.” And as far as the seven-year-old goes, is there some reason you can’t enlist the elder one’s help in “keeping the magic alive”? Cause if your kid relishes destroying joy for his younger sibling, you got a problem even St. Nick may not be able to fix.
I have to admit, I am just not a Santa fan. As soon as the kiddos leave the stage of big-eyed enchantment with any dude in a white beard (somewhere around three) it’s time for straight dealing, as far as I’m concerned. I will never forget a certain almost-five-year-old loftily informing me that it was just fine if we didn’t get her a Barbie car, because she would just ask Santa and he would bring it. (In that moment, I got a taste of what some of my divorced friends’ lives must be like.)
Not to go all Ayn Rand here, but even if a kid isn’t making up a ridiculously long and inappropriate list for Santa—even if, as in those heartwarming stories that appear this time of year, he’s just asking for “a warm Coat and maybe 1 for my baby sister to”—there’s something a little weird about expecting gifts to magically appear under the tree. If they do show up, no need to thank Mom and Dad, who had nothing to do with it. And if they don’t, well…what does that mean, exactly? Did Santa forget you? Were ya just not good enough? Is it true what that kid at school said, that Santa only goes to rich kids’ houses?
And of course, there’s the idea, apparently implanted by that one damned song, that Santa is watching children all the time. ALL THE TIME. I distinctly remember lying down for a nap one December afternoon as a tiny thing and being absolutely effing creeped out. Where would he be watching from? The window on the driveway side of the house, maybe? Sure, he wasn’t there now, but as soon as I fell asleep…yep, Stalker Santa, that was who haunted my sugarplum dreams.
I don’t even want to get into the theological questions here, but it’s sort of obligatory. So many people are still trying to please a Santa God. Yes, there are many whose stockings are full of blessings…but I know a woman who tortured herself for months when her son was diagnosed with cancer, trying to identify her sin or sins that had caused this particular load of ashes and switches to be visited on her child.
So, Kyla Kelim, why not purchase this book, also mentioned in the article? It will help you “share the secret without destroying the wonder.” Because “when you move from the side of believing to the side of becoming, you move from being on the side of the mystery to being a part of the magic.” And who wouldn’t rather be part of the magic, huh? Isn’t that better than asking for stuff? Isn’t that what that guy talked about? You know, what’s-his-name. That other guy with the beard.
Hoping for a magical holiday for all the Blues readers!