Let’s talk about Christmas. Not from a spiritual or Christian point of view. Just for now, we’ll take the Pagan route. I know it’s a sin, but indulge me for a bit. We can repent later. It occurred to me the other day that in it’s essence, the idea of Santa Claus is, by nature, capitalism. You work hard at being good all year long and you get more at the end of the year. The “naughty” kids don’t do as well. They get lumps of coal.
We parents subscribe to this idea. And why not? It sounds nice. After all, it’s what everyone else subscribes to, right? See if this sounds familiar. We take our kids to the mall and wait in unprecedented lines just for the chance to stand by and watch our kid declare his or her status for the year.
“I’ve been good.” Right out of the textbook.
After all, who’s going to admit wrongdoing when sitting in the lap of the one guy who can bring you everything you want?
We glance at each other and comment sarcastically about how he or she maybe bent the truth; just a tad. Yeah right. Let’s don’t be delusional: the kid’s been rotten! Spawn of Satan. Do you remember when he gave Johnny a black eye on the playground? Or the time she cheated on her math test and then lied about it? How about the tantrum at Walmart? 16-year-olds should know better. The violations come flooding through our memories like the running of the bulls.
But why ruin this tender, commercialized moment with honesty?
The empty warnings have been in full force since early December. “I wouldn’t do that. Santa’s watching.” Or, you might just go for the jugular: “I kept the receipt.” It’s usually good for curbing bad behavior for about…oh…10 seconds.
All part of the jolly routine.
You smile proudly as the oversized elves pose for the photo and you pay the equally oversized price to bring the moment home with you so you can put it in the cardboard box, next to the one from last year.
“What did you tell Santa?”
“Oh yes, you’ve been so good this year.”
Fast forward a couple of weeks to Christmas morning and…jackpot. Somehow, Santa found it in his heart to move your kid’s name over to the “Nice” list. It’s a Christmas miracle!
And just like that, mercy has robbed justice.
The kid doesn’t give it a thought as he runs around the room, opening gifts and playing with his new toys. But you know the truth. Somewhere in the back of your subconscious mind, you realize something you would never openly admit. Your Christmas is not capitalistic at all. How could you possibly carry out the whole “lump of cole” thing? How heartless. The kid didn’t earn half of what he’s getting.
Even worse if you have multiple kids. “Let’s see- we spent a hundred bucks on Marci, but only eighty on Kyle. What else can we get Kyle?”
Anyway, don’t let me put a downer on your holiday festivities this year. I’m not advocating we let our kids unwrap the hardest lesson of their lives Christmas morning (although the thought has crossed my mind). After all, Santa has some big stockings to fill. But I may be suggesting that in certain circumstances, you and I may be a bit more socialist than we care to admit.
Don’t worry- it’s a hard pill for me to swallow, too.