I love Christmas. I really, really do. The lights, the tree, giving gifts, the food…all of it. There is nothing I don’t like about Christmas.
Except Santa Claus.
I don’t like him. I never did. I find him creepy.
Most children love Santa. I was not most children. I hated him. He scared the bejesus out of me. When there would be Santa in a mall to take pictures I’d run in the opposite direction.
When I was very young my brother was Santa in a school play. Right in the middle of his monologue, I decided I had had enough of my beloved brother’s interpretation of this aborrhent imposter and I screamed at the top of my lungs from the front row in the audience that completely filled the school auditorium:
‘SHUT-UP, SANTA CLAUS!!!!!’
I completely threw my brother off and he started to laugh. Peels of boyhood laughter in his microphone.
Then the audience finally came out of their stunned silence and started to laugh too.
I would think my mum was totally mortified, but knowing her I think she was just grateful that I didn’t run on stage and punch him.
And I say ‘I think’ because to be entirely honest, I absolutely don’t remember this episode. My brother and mum remember vividly ofcourse, but I do not.
The thing is, when I was a kid growing up in Canada, my Maltese mother was persistently terrified of child snatchers. My mum’s lectures on stranger danger were terrifying. She was so afraid of this happening that she would never leave me out of sight. When she was about to have my little sister she even took me into the obstetrician’s examination room because she was afraid to leave me in the small waiting area of this clinic. I remember the OB/GYN explaining the ultrasound to me and showing me how it works.
So obviously the idea of sitting on this creepy old man’s lap was an absolute no-no in my books. And he was giving out candy-canes and everyone knows the ultimate kids’ rule is to never accept candy from a stranger.
I do not even remember believing in Santa. If I ever did, I was really, really young. I have a brother 6 years my senior, so probably the cat was out of the bag by the time I was three. Also my feminist mother would never let her kids believe that gifts just appeared by a mystical man at Christmas time under a tree. She always told us that we need to work for everything we want and not to depend on anyone. We had presents because mummy and daddy love us and worked very hard to get us those gifts, so we had better be appreciative.
And I have always been a big fan of the truth, so I’m glad I knew the truth. It did not take anything away from Christmas. Actually, quite the contrary…knowing that my parents spent their hard-earned pay cheques on something frivolous my little heart desired made me realize how lucky I was to have such parents and how special I was to them. It also made us less materialistic, knowing that presents don’t just fall from the sky.
I also want to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that not everyone is lucky in this regard and if you want to make a difference and make a Maltese child’s Christmas better, have a look at this site:
So Santa. No, I’m not a fan. What’s with the red outfit? Is he a communist? And why doesn’t he shave, for God’s sake? Does he fancy himself as the first hipster? Are those Christmas carols on his iPod or Mumford and Sons? And what about the ‘ho ho ho!’? Who laughs like that? I bet he wants a couple of ‘hos, the dirty old man.
I hope he did not give you beard burn. Where’s Frosty when you need him?