Showing posts with label Santa Claus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Santa Claus. Show all posts

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Truth Hurts

The 1st Hate of Christmas: the Scam

     My seven-year-old tongue probes the soft, rust-flavored divot between my remaining baby teeth. Another tooth lost, and I feel like a big boy, on my way to becoming a man. I inhale and look up at my tall, skinny dad, with his long nose and big Adam's apple. It's time.

     "Is the Tooth Fairy for real?" my timid, boy-soprano voice sounds.

     "She's real if you want her to be."

     Dad's voice is awkward and singsongy, like when he reads The Rescuers to me at bedtime. His brown eyes widen behind his rose-tinted, round glasses and his black eyebrows rise unevenly.  His Adam's apple  moves up and then down.  He smiles.  Something's weird in his smile, something that I don't have a word for yet, but it feels like I asked something I wasn't supposed to. I can see it in his eyes and hear it in his freaky response: he wants me to believe.

     But, I'm not stupid. It just doesn’t make sense that a miniature lady with wings can fly through a closed and locked window, get under my heavy head and pillow, and turn my bloody stump of a baby tooth into money.

     She's real if you want her to be?  What a bogus answer! My seven-year-old mind (Yes, I've reached the age of reason according to Catholic teaching.) sees right through my helpless father's smile. A dam breaks.

     "Is the Easter Bunny for real?"

     "He's real if you want him to be."

     Well, is just plain stupid! Why isn't he giving me a straight answer?  If you want him to be?  I want the truth! Is it really possible for a bunny rabbit to carry loads of candy, baskets, and eggs to homes around the world, and all in one night? A bunny can't open a locked door. A bunny can't cross the Mississippi River. No, there is no Easter Bunny. I can live with that, but the next question, it's more frightening and carries larger consequences.

     "Is Santa Claus for real?"

     "He's real if you want him to be."

     "So he's not real then."

     "Do you want him to be real?"

     What kind of question is that? Of course, I want him to be real. I want to get presents, the things that I want, every year for Christmas for the rest of my life.  I want to be rewarded for being a good boy in school with loads of Smurfs, Legos, and Hot Wheels.  Yes, I want him to be real. But...

     The North Pole? Flying reindeer? Glowing red-nosed Rudolf? Elves? A fat man sliding down our skinny chimney?  How does he get through the damper?  How can I believe that anymore? How can I believe anything again?

     "I don't believe that he's real."

     Dad doesn't flinch.  His Adam's apple bounces, and then he smiles looking proud, but also a bit disappointed.  Or is he worried?  I've never seen this look on him before, relaxed facial muscles surrounding strained eyes.  I don't know what it means.

     I have another question for my dad, a question that I'm too afraid to ask. I don't want to hear his answer. I don't want to be told that He's real if I want Him to be. I want to know that He loves me. I want there to be a life after death, because any night the house could burn down, I could die in my sleep, and I just want to go to heaven and be with the people who love me, forever.  I want to be forgiven for my sins.

     So, I don't ask.

     For years and years, my fear keeps me from asking, but true to my namesake, my doubt remains. Over time, I get used to the doubt. I forget that the unasked question remains. I'm side-tracked, converted, and brought into the scam.

     I help Mom fill the Easter baskets after my little brother and sister fall asleep. I put the quarter under their pillows, but make Mom retrieve the teeth. I stay home sick from school and find my Christmas presents early. I feel like an adult, like I'm important, because I know the same truth as my older cousins. Even better, I can make my little sister and brother happy by encouraging their belief. Why would I want to ruin that for them or for the other kids in my class?  They need their Santa, and I need my presents.

     When my little sister figures it all out, I'm eager to initiate her into the ways of the scam. When playing hide-and-seek a week before Christmas, our little brother finds the wrapped Christmas presents inside the big cardboard Christmas-tree box on the highest shelf in the basement.  My little sister and I spin a lie to keep his big brown eyes believing: Santa can't get to all the houses in one night, so he delivers the presents early to most houses and the mommies and daddies help him by putting the presents out on Christmas Eve after the kids go to sleep.  Little brother buys it.  Phew.  Presents for another year!  And another year.  And another...

     In my thirty-first year, I finally ask The Question that I was too afraid to ask in the first grade, even though my mind knew the bogus answer that would follow.

     "He's real if you want him to be," the echo of Dad's voice bounces through my brain.

     But, I know that he's not real. There is no god. There is no heaven. There is only this fragile world, this precious life, these delicate relationships, and the frail mystery of existence.  Still, I'm frightened.  What will happen if I don't believe in god any more?

     I try it out.

     The world doesn't end. I don't lose myself in the fires of debauchery. I don't abuse others and use them for my gratification. I don't fear, anymore. Instead, I find peace.

      And, I still love. I still hope. I still seek. I still believe.

     Only, I don't believe in the myth of the Santa Christ.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tomorrow Begin the 12 Hates of Christmas

     Tomorrow begin the 12 Hates of Christmas.  Every day for the next twelve days, another reflection upon something not very nice about the holidays, and lot of fun, fun, fun.

     Thank you to all you heretics that submitted your "hates" for the project.  I hope you enjoy seeing your work in print.

Santa's Dark Side

     Have you ever seen a child scream when placed on Santa's lap?  Have you heard the adults nearby laugh at the frightened child's agony?  Has it turned your stomach?

     Have you ever wondered if it's at all abusive that we subject our children to lies that Santa exists, force them sit on a strangely dressed and frightening old man's lap, and encourage them to tell him their deepest desires and wishes?

     Beyond the joy of the gift giving, it's all a bit sadistic.  If you are naughty, you deserve nothing and you get nothing.  You will be punished by some white-bearded guy, who is omnipresent throughout the world's edifices, and descends from above to inflict his judgment.  No wonder children cry on his lap: what pressure!

     Get ready for the extreme.  ABC news reports:
      Elsewhere [in the world], Santa has a much darker side.
      The Netherlands' Sinterklaas does have a white beard and a big book with children's names in it, much like the gentle Santa who keep a list of who's naughty and nice, but he also goes about with a posse of soot-covered sidekicks called "Black Peters." [Not a racist sounding name at all.]  If Sinterklaas' records show a child to have been particularly bad, legend has it he or she could be carried off by a Black Peter to be turned into a cookie.

     Dutch journalist and filmmaker Arnold-Jan Scheer has studied St. Nicholas' scary side. He says some parents feel it's good for their children to be taunted and intimidated by St. Nick's helpers.
     "I think the mother thinks, well, this is tradition, this is part of life, this is how it has to be," Scheer said. "Children need to be confronted with their fears."
     In parts of France, St. Nicholas is accompanied by a cannibalistic child killer named Père Fouettard (or the "Whipping Father"). He flogs children who have been naughty and dispenses lumps of coal, leaving St. Nick to bestow gifts to the good. In village parades this time of year, sinister Père Fouettards grab children and whisk them along, while some cry in fear and others taunt him back.
     In parts of Austria, it's worse still. When St. Nicholas makes a house call, he is accompanied by a demon named Krampus. While St. Nick rewards good children, Krampus beats the bad ones. Wearing fierce-looking masks, horns and animals skins, he overturns tables, sets fires, and grabs adults and children to spank them while St. Nicholas watches from the sidelines.
     I was unable to embed the video, but please click here to watch it.  You won't believe your eyes.

     A collared cleric, Canon James Renthal, President of the St. Nicholas Society, speaks in awe of the "good reason" for exposing children to this cannibalistic demon as being to teach them the difference between good and evil.  Ask that of the screaming and wailing children in the video, who are being ripped from their parents and carried off by the demonic side-kick to be eaten as Santa, mommy and daddy all watch in delighted laughter.  Is it just me, or is there something sinisterly ironic about a cleric speaking of what's best for children?

     But is there really a difference between what these European Santas and their evil sidekicks do to children and what religion does?

     If you are nice you will go to heaven with our loving and white-bearded Father and be rewarded with everything you've ever wanted, but if you are bad, the devil will pull you into the fires of hell for an eternity of pain.  It's a Merry Christmyths after all.

Image Credits:  
My Scrapbook 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Selling the Santa Christ

     The season of Advent doesn't officially start until Saturday at dusk, but that hasn't kept our Christian friends from joining in the credit-busting wealth-fest and excuse to stampede and kill your brothers and sisters that is Black Friday.  What peaceful season!

     As usual this holiday season, preachers will decry the erosion of the "reason for the season" and call upon good Christian men to rejoice and put the Christ back in X-mas (ignorant of the fact that the X comes from the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in the word "christ" in Greek, the language in which most of the New Testament was written).

     But let them decry the heathens they claim have commercialized Christmas.  Let them point fingers.  For their own kind have also given themselves to the coming of the Santa Christ.  None is exempt, for the internet reveals all.

    Two days only at Lifeway Chritian Stores: Biblical Soulutions for Life: CDs, DVDs, bibles, kids' stuff, everything on sale!  Hurry before your time runs out.

     At, move fast for this week's specials: the box office flop The Nativity Story for only $4.99 on DVD (sorry no Blue-Ray), the NIV Study Bible, 2002 Edition with black, bonded leather for a whopping 75% off, The Beginner's Bible: 50% off, and nothing speaks Christmas better than a new Veggie Tales Christmas DVD: Saint Nicholas: a Story of Joyful Giving.  Strange that Veggie Tales is only 33% off and the bibles are 75%  and 50% off.  I guess nothing sells the world of god better than a bunch of singing vegetables, which reminds me, you can also get the book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God for just $7.49.

     Rush over to Family Christian Stores for the after Thanksgiving 3 day sale event with $5 and 50% off "doorbusters."  Wallet busters is more like it, but don't fret, you're spending for Jesus.  Think of it as a holiday sacrifice, an indulgence in celebration of the incarnation. Spend a little on cutting-edge originally titled CDs like "In the Hands of God" by Newsboys or "Christ is Come" by Big Daddy Weave. Is it just me or are these boy bands kind of hot?

     What if we ... Brandon Heath?

     Welcome to the Masquerade indeed.

     Or click over to Catholic Supply of St. Louis, Inc. and visit their "Extensive Christmas Shoppe" where adding a "pe" to the end of "shop" makes it okay to exploit religion for financial gain.

     If someone you know is addicted to their yearly Precious Moments cute little crack fix, head over to the Religious Goods Center and slap down $35.00 for a one-of-a-kind mass produced and dated figurine.  The celebration of your savior's birth in a simple manger won't be complete without it.

     Or for more Catholic goods, head on over to Abbey Press, the self-proclaimed "web's top source for gifts of faith, family, and friendship!"  Or head to the Catholic Company and get your Christmas cards ordered during Advent, while shopping for Advent books, wreaths, and candleholders.  We don't want those Jews owning the candle market now, do we?  At you can get Advent gifts and supplies for as low as 49 cents!  Try to beat that deal, you Protestants.

     But to get the ultimate Christmas gift for your Catholic friends, drop everything and click over to Vatican Gift, for here you can drop $220 on a rosary and $95 more on a rosary box.  Or go all out and spend $420 on the "The Medal-Cross fo [sic] Saint Benedict - 18 kt Gold and platinum." But don't worry, it's worth it, because Vatican Gift has a direct line to Pope Ben who will bless your purchases "absolutely for free" and they're also throwing in a free 2010 calendar of Pope Ben.  And at Vatican Gift, they go even further by sending "a relevant" contribution to "chidrens [sic] in Africa and in other parts of the world, for their health and instruction."  So, buy now, and you can contribute to children being told by the Catholic church that condoms don't prevent the spread of HIV.  So, give some HIV to an unnamed black kid in Africa!  What could be a better way to spread Christmas joy, hope and salvation?

     So, all ye preachers, decry the commercialization of the season, but don't come crying when your collections go up in the coming weeks and you silently take a little off the top for father's needs.

     After all, we live in Jesusland.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hate Poll #2 Results: The Easter Bunny Hates You, Too

 Who do you hate most?
  • Santa Claus 9% 
  • Jesus Christ 18%
  • The Tooth Fairy 27%
  • The Easter Bunny 45%
Who knew that people could hold such repressed ire towards a bright, benign, benevolent, and bewhiskered bunny?

No Cadbury eggs for you this Easter!

Don't worry.  The Easter Bunny hates you, too.