I’m writing to you with a plea for help. I’m desperate and I have no one else to turn to. So, please hear me out and provide assistance if you can.
I’d like to believe in Santa. I want to believe. The problem is, that the Santa story is too convoluted and insane for anyone to really believe in. The only reason kids do, is because they have yet to develop the right amount of cynicism needed to realize that their parents are lying to them.
See, the problem isn’t necessarily the story itself, it’s more that there are so many different versions of it. Or rather, ways they’re executed. Coming from a different culture than the country I grew up in created its challenges. Our Christmas celebration differed from the one most of my friends’ had. It could be just minor things like what music was played or what was eaten at Christmas Eve, but it still created irreversible cracks in the foundation of the narrative. For us, Santa appeared in person. One of the adults, usually a dad or uncle, mysteriously disappeared for a while to go to the store, to get that random, critical, christmasy thing that was so incredibly essential that it justified an absence at the crescendo of the evening. Minutes later, of course, Santa would appear handing out presents to everyone.
This would all have been great, if it wasn’t for the fact that he always wore a mask, closely resembling patched-together pieces of dead skin harvested from cadavers, painted up with make-up to look like a transvestite or the re-animated corpse of St. Nicholas. Whichever one might be scarier. Having nightmares for months afterward was apparently worth the payoff in presents. The logic here was clearly to distract everyone by giving them beautifully wrapped packages and avoid direct eye contact with Santa at any cost. The few times he spoke, and looks were shifted from the presents to his face, often resulted in slightly panicky gazes as kids frantically scanned the room in search of parents, to get a sign of reassurance that Santa was in fact not there to eat them, just to give them cool stuff.
By adding more plot lines and complexity, things immediately got even more confusing. For my friends in school, for example, Santa never showed up in person. He dropped the presents off, or they just magically appeared on, or a few days before Christmas to then be handed out by parents on Christmas Eve. Santa must have been too busy to pay them an in-person visit, I thought. Quite understandable. He does after all need to visit all the kids in the world in about 48 hours. At least all the believers. My friend’s son, in a brave attempt to figure out how it’s done, recently concluded that Santa had to travel at the speed of 300km/h in order to make it out to everyone. Why 300km/h? No clue, and I’m not sure an explanation was given, but I’m guessing it’s because he’s a kid, and speeds like that seem extremely fast to him. But, in all honesty, he’s not the only one trying to make sense out of all this.
Throw in thousands of decoy Santas at every street corner and department store. How are kids to know which ones are real? “Daddy, is it the one with the fake beard or the melting Freddy Krueger face?”. You would think that a response to this would be simple and straight forward, but instead, most adults, feeling the need to perpetuate the lie, make up yet another one. Some say, that they’re just Santa’s helpers sent to assist him in busy times, or that they’re simply out there to throw off the paparazzi, while others suggest they’re the corporate henchmen of greedy department stores trained to suck money out of peoples wallets. Ok, maybe I’m the only one saying that, but the lies keep piling on nonetheless.
Add to this the recent addition of penguins to the Christmas scene (appearing in many front-yard light show decorations everywhere these days) and we’ll have something not even the most talented mystery writer could piece together into a believable story. Penguins?! Really?! I know they’re both associated with cold and winter, but as most people know, they live on opposite poles. And Santa isn’t bi-polar. It would be like adding dinosaurs to nativity story only because both things happened in the past. This may incidentally make sense to children, as they seemingly believe in just about anything. Although, polar bears would have been a much more credible alternative.
It should, however, be to no one’s surprise that kids loose this blind faith in the impossible at an early age. And if we want to keep them in the fog on this, we need to work up a better and more believable lie. A big one, to replace the millions of small ones. One that doesn’t contradict itself at every step of the way. A story we could all rally around without having to constantly invent new scenarios every time a kid asks us why Santa wasn’t there to give Mary and Joseph a ride to Bethlehem on his sleigh. I’m open to adding a whole new cast of characters if needed. Dinosaurs, polar bears, and even the Easter Bunny could work given the right setup.
The bottom line is that I need help. My kids are closing in on the age where this house of cards will soon cave in under its own weight, but with your help, and everyone reading the from the same script, there is still a chance we could keep our children fooled forever. Even though all hope is lost for us, please do it for the kids.
Thank you in advance.