Saturday, December 23, 2006

Santa or Satan....

Yesterday I listened to two co-workers talking about the lengths they go to just to keep their young children believing in Santa Claus. I'm standing on the sidelines regarding Mr. Claus. I have no children and have no recollection of my niece & nephew's transition from believers to non-believers. I was seven when I gave up on Santa. For now I'm simply watching the show.

B.D. has two daughters; the eldest is six years old. I presume it's a fairly easy task for him to keep the illusion going, but he does his best to fuel it further. He's the proud owner of an authentic Santa-Suit he keeps hidden in the attic and for the last 2 years a close and very large friend has donned that suit and prowled about B.D.'s house as his young daughters watch in awe. He has some lovely photos, almost Victorian in essence, of wonder-filled little girls. I think the illusion benefits him more than it does his little girls.

B.E.'s eldest is nine years old and still believes. I find this amazing. She must be in the 4th grade at school and I can't imagine that teachers or students haven't somehow poked holes in her belief. When I figured out Santa wasn't real I could hardly wait to tell my school chums. But maybe I was born to pop other peoples' balloons. B.E. and spouse find it much more difficult than B.D. to maintain the illusion. For some time they were able to spell out things in conversation that the kids were unable to understand, but the nine-year-old is a whiz in school and spelling is no longer an option for the parents. They now use single letters as a code to reference what they're talking about, but they fear this will be the last year they can do that.

To me, the saddest part of the charade is that the parents expend such an effort to further a myth of acquisition without attaching it to some form of giving (other than "being good", which amounts to bribery).

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