I love Christmas! For 25 years now I have hung stockings, decorated trees, made wreaths from leaves, bells with Styrofoam cups, and had cakes upon cakes – since that’s what you eat when Christ is born, or so I want to believe for my gastric merriment sake.
It’s a different matter that often socks in place of stockings and potted look-alikes (or those shimmery ones from China) rather than original Xmas trees were used. It’s also a different matter altogether that eating the cakes took precedence over getting the buntings up in time, maybe. Be that as it may, my Christmas has never lacked cheer or a stocking on Christmas eve. Because Santa Claus never forgets to drop by!
I am 30 years old and my son is a little over 2. Here is a picture of us from last Christmas, with both of us believing that Santa Claus is coming to town. I have decided to perpetuate this myth for as long as he starts to reason with me, and then reply to him with enough reasons as to why we will continue to believe that Santa is indeed real, just like I did with my husband 6 years ago. And why we will continue to hang our socks every 24th of December each passing year! My idea is this:
What dreams are made of – Children have a bottomless pitcher of imagination in them, ever-ready to believe that fairies dance under mushrooms at night, frogs turn into princes with a chaste (only) little kiss and witches have character reversals if shown a little TLC. They gobble up the fantastical with lip-smacking relish and often season it with their own twists to the tales. They believe in stories, learn to make them up and finally go to sleep in Noddy’s Toyland.
Santa Claus is a way of feeding their imagination for flights beyond their known land into Neverland, perhaps. A jolly good fellow, who looks like their grandpa in red, brings presents like one, spreads laughter (albeit “driving” a different looking “car”) is perfectly cheery food for their fantasy world! And no, I will not call it lying to your children (Do you call referring to your whiskey as medicine to them the truth?). I will only call it a way of keeping their worlds happily unreal and cocooned from the real, which shall rear its big bad head sooner than later anyway!
Idea of giving, with a twist – Santa Claus with his big bag full of presents for children stands for the idea of bounteousness and whole-hearted giving. However, ‘You better watch out, you better not pout’ because he is ‘making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.’ The myth of Santa Claus carries within its folds the idea of good and bad behaviour – while the former is rewarded the latter is not.
You may say that kind of discriminatory attitude should have no place in what Christmas is all about, but then again, perhaps it’s Santa’s way of patting the backs of all those parents who raised a well-behaved child or a child for being good (both being a feat in themselves, if I may add). The hope of getting something out of Santa’s big bag is also an incentive for the tots to be good – whether 3, 13 or like me 30! Although, as far as I can think back, I have been naughty all three decades of my life, and yet not a Christmas has passed without dropping me a present. Perhaps, Santa needs technology for making and remembering his lists better. My guess is, he doesn’t want to!
A shared fortune – Just like all other festivals, Christmas too is about a communal feeling. The myth of Santa Claus gets in another reason to feel one with your neighbour – that of a shared fortune waiting under the tree for you on Christmas morning. Whether with family or with friends, presents become a topic of merry exchange, just as they are shared motives for grown-ups going gift-hunting for you, and for their own selves too. Materialism? It’s Christmas, for Christ’s sake, and even the Grinch is never known to have used this word for it! And if this is perpetuating a materialistic attitude, then all carrots in all offices should end up as snowmen’s noses – leaving behind a stick-and-stick policy and dis-incentivised employees.
The hush-hush rush – And then of course, the clandestine aspect of it makes it all the more endearing. The secret shopping for what your child deserves best, the whispers between the parents, the tip-toeing at midnight, the bomb of the impending nearly exploding inside the children (and adults, alike). Such a sweet and simple way to make us grown-ups giggle like children and the children feel like adults-part-of-a-life-changing-mystery!
So there! Why I will always continue to believe in my Santa Claus, and will let others do so too. Who knows when we may create unforgettable memories for our son one day, if me and husband bungle like my parents did – with both putting gifts inside me and my brother’s socks separately, least realizing that the other parent had been the Santa already! That was a Ho-ho-ho Christmas, twice over. And as for your own present, do make sure your husband does not conveniently assume that the gift has to “fit” right into the stocking. I have got my share of bottle openers and paper weights. I’m looking for something bigger maybe, unless of course, it’s something precious in a little box that fits snugly inside the sock and smoothly on my finger!
I know, Christmas is many months away, but I’m keeping my Santa up-to-date as the chill sets in. And you should too!
Sakshi Nanda went from studying Literature to serving the print media and finally settling with two publishing houses who called her editor for a couple of hard-bounds, no more! She writes as a work-from-home mother to realize herself as well as to be read, both – with her 2-year-old boy and her sarkari babu beau as the greatest source of ideas and inspiration. She believes eating baby food is therapeutic and that the pen is man’s best invention, after diapers that is! Meet her at: sakshinanda.blogspot.in