has never been to my house. Actually, Santa Claus has never been to
anyone’s house, but I’ll just deal with my own domain.
seventh Christmas of his life, Tony Calabrese woke up this year without
the excitement and wide-eyed wonderment brought on by the thought of a
globe-traversing fat dude coming down our chimney and bringing him toys.
meaning to enroll him in therapy to deal with his heartbreak over this
terrible deprivation, but since he keeps bouncing out of bed every day
as a perfectly happy, well-adjusted boy, it strikes me as a serious
waste of money.
Virginia, Tony has never believed in Santa Claus. He has never been fed
the fable. It gets even worse. On Christmas morning at the Calabrese
house, the opening of gifts has never been much of a focal point, and in
recent years it has faded into a virtual non-event. In fact, if you
promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you in on a little secret.
OK. We didn’t even put up a tree this year.
this is not such a big deal for me. In my bachelor days, which lasted
until I turned 30, I never had a tree in any of my various bachelor
pads. My wife has always put one up, which is fine with me, but this
year things have been a bit harried and she decided she couldn’t be
doesn’t seem to care one way or the other, so long as I’m willing to
play ball with him in the living room and buy him French fries.
before Tony was born that he would never be told there is a Santa Claus,
simply because feeding him this line would go against everything else
our family says (always tell the truth), does (very little emphasis on
materialism and “stuff”) and believes (Christmas is about the birth of
more, he has plenty of stuff. His grandmother buys him clothes without
even being asked. He gets more toys at every birthday party than he will
ever find time to play with (or than I will ever have a big enough house
to find room for).
He also has
plenty of fun. Whether it’s games, toys, Cub Scouts, post-Tiger game
rituals or tickling, the child is hardly lacking for merriment.
importantly, he is starting to get a pretty good grasp – at the tender
age of six – of the fact that we celebrate a savior who came to redeem
us from any number of ungodly habits, and that one of them is loving our
stuff more than we love God.
does that jibe with some fat dude coming into your house and bringing
you an X-box because you picked up your clothes, which you’re supposed
to do anyway? It doesn’t, especially when the fat dude isn’t real and
the savior born in the stable is real.
thing about being a no-Santa family – and believe me, it’s not that
hard – is the assumption some folks make that you’re somehow
preventing your child from having fun. This makes me wonder how their
children possibly handle life the other 364 days of the year, when,
tragically, no overstuffed elf is landing in their fireplace and
bringing them racetracks.
also the issue, of course, of what happens if our clued-in son
inadvertently spills the beans to a playmate whose parents still have
him under the illusion. Actually, in a magnanimous concession to the
rest of the civilized world, we have cautioned him not to be too quick
to share his insight. But to be perfectly honest, it’s neither my job
nor his to cover for you if you decide to feed your kid a load of crap.
needs to get it through his head that doing what’s right is its own
reward. And I certainly don’t want him worrying that he needs to mind
his Ps and Qs because some Arctic reindeer rancher sees him when he’s
sleeping and knows when he’s awake.
he understands very well that God has that kind of insight about him. He
also understands that God doesn’t send him DVDs just because he minds
his mother and picks up his toys.
child managed to stay happy this long without Santa Claus in his life is
indeed a profound mystery. But don’t you worry about him, and whatever
flies your sleigh on Christmas, I hope your kids are as joyous as he is.
© 2006 North Star Writers
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