Thursday, December 25, 2008

Weaning Santa

I believe in Santa Claus. Not in the "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" way, although that is nice. In the Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Clause, Year Without a Santa Claus kind of way.

I hesitate to write this post at all, for a few reasons. One is that my inner amateur anthropologist historian wannabee is itching to hi-jack this post and turn it into a discussion of the mythology of Santa and cultural attitudes toward him over the centuries, including my belief that "Christmas spirit" in the form of belief in Santa among children aged 2 to 8 has not diminished and may, in fact, have grown. You will be glad to hear, I'm not going to let that happen this morning. Next week maybe...

Another is that my youngest son Mark doesn't usually read my blog, but who knows. And right now, he either believes in Santa completely, or has consciously decided to maintain the myth. In either case, I sort of screwed it up this year.

In our house, Santa was in charge of stockings and one gift. The one gift was usually big although not always expensive. There was often a big Christmas bear. That made a really nice show on Christmas morning: small pile of gifts turns into big pile with only three additional packages. This tradition came about because Mom told me that when we were little, all of our presents were from Santa. Then one Christmas, we opened a mountain of toys from Santa, turned to Mom & Dad and said, "What did y'all get us?" After that, at least one gift said "Love Mom & Dad." I went the other way with that one.

The stockings started to deteriorate as we got older. It's harder to find nice cheap stuff for older kids. And the kids stay up later. My mom and her sister saw each other twice a year & had a lot to catch up on. This involved vodka. The chance of the right presents getting in the right stockings decreased exponentially once it got past 8:00. By the time the youngest child was ready to give up stockings (I was 17, I think, and the third oldest cousin), the first part of Christmas morning was spent trading stocking stuffers.

This year, in my house, there is no other gift from Santa and the stocking isn't great. We didn't have the money for a lot of stuff and I didn't want to spend it on yo-yos and cars and stuff Mark doesn't really like. That's show Christmas. Instead, the stocking is stuffed with a couple of cool things and lots of candy (Lindor Truffles... times are hard, but the candy doesn't have to be). The cool things would have included a gyroscope and a prism, but I lost the bag of stuff I bought at the State Museum gift shop. It is probably in a closet.

In addition to a cash crunch, I decided to try a new medication for my migraines, which not only didn't help the migraines, seems to have made it harder for me to think, remember, and be nice. I don't know if that is what is responsible for my manic 4 am blogging (which I kind of enjoyed) and my inability to remember who I bought presents for and where I put them, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm not really sure of the point of this rambling blog that I can't blame on medication. Although this Christmas may be a little disappointing Santa-wise, it will be wonderful in other ways. And even though Mark is getting ready to move from child to one of Santa's elves as Gabe & Brendon become old enough to enjoy Santaness, I suspect there will be another year of Santa for Mark. Probably Santa's little curtain call, as I get it together perfectly to make up for screwing up this year. If Santa has to retire, I'd like him to go out on a good year.


Kim said...

Merry Christmas! Don't worry about any screw ups - only you will know. Mark will stillthink Santa is wonderful - and she REALLY is!!!! I don't but stocking stuffers at all. Whatever is small enough to go in goes in. One kid may have one and another five. They're so busy opening they don't care. Enjoy!

annie kelleher said...

merry xmas - im catching up... hope your day went smoothly and the bad migraines go away!!!!