Saturday, December 4, 2010
Anti-Santaism: The beginning
Image by Oren neu dag [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
I was one of those kids that believed in Santa with every fiber of my being. When all the other children's hope in him faded away, I held on. After all, the movies all said that he is real, even if parents and older kids don't believe. I thought that it was special that I could still believe when others lost their faith. I thought Santa would be pleased with this, and maybe, just maybe, I would get to meet him. He might even take me to the North Pole in his sleigh. I was sure I would be rewarded for my faith in him.
The harsh reality? Santa isn't real. When did I find this out? Just before Christmas one year I was shopping with my sister and one of her friends. On the way out of the store and back to the car, somehow the topic of Santa came up. I proudly announced that Santa was real, even if they didn't believe in him. They responded by laughing at me and saying they couldn't believe I was so stupid and childish to still believe in that. It didn't stop there. They continued poking fun for quite some time, and I spent the ride home in the back of the car trying to hide my tears. My mom wouldn't have lied to me, would she? Surly all this time it wasn't her like they were saying. Just the year before I had received a letter from Santa in my stocking, that wasn't from my mom!
I don't remember the rest of the events as clearly as those moments, but I know that I decided that day. That day I made the choice that I would NEVER lie to my children. I knew that no loving parent would ever be the cause of the treatment that I received that day. Especially not just for their own enjoyment. What kind of a mom could lie to her kids? It was so inconceivable to me. I still loved my mom (and my sister), but I was wounded.
I remember being the brunt of jokes that entire Christmas season. My sister told everyone that I still believed in Santa and I would deny it, but others joined in with her to laugh at me. I would deny my beliefs, they would deny my denial. It is probably one of the most painful childhood memories that I have. More painful then being made fun of for having only one eye caused by cancer, that I was sure was the cause of my parent's divorce, and more painful then the sexual abuse of my stepfather that I would have never had if my parent's hadn't gotten divorced.
This was the beginning of my Anti-Santaism. At this point I knew of Christ, I was raised in church, and I'm sure I must have known that Christmas was about the birth of Christ? But Christ wasn't important to me. He loved everyone, God was good and that was the extent of it. Santa, he was the reason for the season. Every image of Christmas was about him. Every Christmas card held his photo, and on Christmas eve we watched him on the news. And it was all a lie. At that point in time, Christ had nothing to do with my Anti-Santaism. My Anti-Santaism came from the hurt that I felt and I knew I could NEVER wish that on any other child. Especially not my own.
That was the beginning for me. I knew I could never lie to my kids about Santa. We could have Christmas without him. We could fill stockings, pass out presents and have all the fun festivities without believing a lie. At this point, my Anti-Santaism was just about the lies. By the time I was out on my own the pain had faded, I had pushed it back to the corner of my heart and moved forward. I still sang the songs about Santa, bought cards with his picture, and enjoyed the season. I just knew that he wasn't real, and that I would not ever pretend that he was. That was the beginning.