The lady on Sky News just said that “Christmas sales forecast to hit £68.7 billion in the UK in 2010”. That’s a lot of shopping and a huge chunk is for the kids I am sure.
As the boy (my son) hit two a few months ago, he will surely appreciate Christmas the most this year. Next year will be prime Santa time, and he will begin his journey of ensuring that he is nice enough to get Santa to drop off exactly what he wants to see under the tree.
So, as soon as the boy is old enough to get the Santa thing, I will be armed with the first bribe any child encounters: “If you’re naughty, Santa won’t bring nice presents for you at Christmas”.
Santa. Can I get ah steups please? I am lying to my child. Fact. Giving my child something to dream about, you say? Still a lie. And the lie grows. What do I say to the boy when he notices that I don’t have the necessary fireplace and chimney? Magic of Christmas my foot. I don’t even have my own roof. I live in a basement flat (in a quiet part of England)!
I remember my childhood days in Trinidad, waking up on Christmas morning and seeing my parents run down the hallway with big, black garbage bags, and after a few minutes of rustling outside, I would emerge in the living room to see Santa really did think I was a good girl. There were presents everywhere. There was no Santa though.
So why must he get all the credit? Who is this Santa anyway? Does Santa even have children of his own? Does he lie to them? I think not.
This history of Santa Claus dates back four centuries, with a combination of myths ranging from St. Nicholas, who always delivered his presents to loved ones in secret, to the Dutch Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century. It is this trip to the land of consumerism that grew Santa Claus into what we know today.
According to freeonlinedictionary.com, Santa Claus is “the personification of the spirit of Christmas, usually represented as a jolly fat old man with a white beard and a red suit, who brings gifts to good children on Christmas Eve”. But it goes much further than this. Parents begin to lobby for good behaviour from the kids using Santa’s presents as collateral.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, Santa won’t think you’re a good boy!”
In my day, I fell for it, as did many of you. But what about the boy? He is already iPad savvy. Can you imagine three to five years from now when he is completely computer literate? Let me paint the picture nah. He has done something naughty and I hit him with the Santa line. Of course by this time, at the prime age of six, he knows that his present stash and overall toy inventory depends on how Santa perceives him a mere five weeks before Xmas. Being my child, he never likes to lose and always gets what he wants.
So what does he do? He perches himself in front of my laptop and googles, “How to impress Santa one month before Xmas?” And he clicks “GO”. In seconds he is bombarded with black and white evidence that his mother is a liar. That I have been using an imaginary figure to control his behaviour. How it go look?
Now apart from the lying part bothering me, every one of us has gone through the Santa thing, and of course the boy will as well. Which brings me to the next thing… all the work Santa puts us through.
“Amid the flying paper and blood-crawling screeching of the sellotape, I hear the boy shout, “Santa is amazing!”
So weeks before Christmas, I start planning what my child is getting for Xmas. I also discuss it with his grandmother, great-grandmother and his godmother. Decoration themes are chosen and items to adorn my living room and kitchen are chosen to ensure that the house is festive. I spend a week in the kitchen making traditional Christmas dishes such as turkey, roast beef, and stuffing, and then the Trini in me kicks in and I bring out the home-made bread and ham, together with some pastelles (Shout outs to Susan Macio).
With my first job being in the Hallmark store in Gulf City, I hone in on my intricate gift wrapping skills, and silently do the boy’s stash bit by bit until they are all complete. Tags are written and my handwriting versatility is tested. I scribble from Mommy and Daddy, Grammies and Grandpas, GG (great grandmother), of course, Santa – in different inks and penmanship.
This all culminates on Christmas morning when the presents are crammed under the tree, a super, family breakfast is prepared, and presents are opened with much ado. Amid the flying paper and blood-crawling screeching of the sellotape, I hear the boy shout, “Santa is amazing!”
Santa? That fat fool. You think he could have really run around and do all this? Cook all this? He would have eaten all of it with he fat self. It never really dawned on me until I became a mother, but Santa is that guy in work who steals your ideas and gets all the credit. The children behave throughout the year to impress him, not me as a parent. So what I doing all of this for? For someone else to get the pips! I think not. Is best I get the boy a first-class ticket to the North Pole and he go live there.
But then reality kicks in. The reality of parenthood. And it hurts. I have to do things for the boy and think of how they will make him feel. The look on his face on Christmas morning, when he sees the cookies and milk that he left for St Nick are gone. The awe he experiences as he sees all his presents, and opens them, seeing every item he meticulously wrote in the letter to Santa that was popped in the post. I suppose it will be priceless. And let’s face it… it will prepare him for all the lies he will face when he grows up, right?
“No these are my real boobs.”
“I’ve never been with a guy on the first date.”
“Sorry I’m late hun, but I was stuck in traffic.”
Alright, an extreme correlation, but it makin’ sense. Ent?
Well after I got the weirdo stare from the hubby, because I totin’ feelings, I guess I just have to accept that Santa has to pass through my house for the next few years. I really want to chook Santa in he belly, shave he beard, and throw some Clorax on he suit eh. But what can I do? Go along with the sham? It’s tradition, right?
Eng out. I wonder what Santa bringin’ for me this Christmas boy?
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (12/20/10; Issue 37). It’s our Christmas issue:
- Rembunction: Music, Life and Motion
- If Adults Wrote to Santa
- The Most Memorable Trini Viral Videos of 2010
- Just Do It: Actions vs. New Year’s Resolutions
- 6 Things I Learnt from Scrunter
Look out for a new issue of Outlish every Monday.
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