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Archive for December 13, 2012

my complicated relationship with santa claus

< by Jorie of themidwestmaven.wordpress.com >

During my first Christmases on earth—before I was self-aware—I had no problem sitting on Santa’s lap in my hometown mall. But by the time I could talk, I was more than a little skeptical of this bearded stranger we all so casually invited into our homes while we slept.

Christmas 1990, Age 2

I approached my mom and dad a few weeks before Christmas, terrified that Santa Claus was going to come into my room on Christmas Eve.

My parents laughed. “We’ll close your door and he’ll stay in the living room.”

I can’t be sure, but if two-year-old Jorie is anything like 24-year-old Jorie, I probably moved my hamper in front of the door, as an extra deterrent.

Christmas 1991, Age: 3

I refused to sit on Mall Santa’s lap. Instead, I stood on the second floor, which overlooked the atrium where a temporary North Pole was set up.

I gripped the banister, thrust my head between the guardrails, and yelled down, “SANTA! I want Barbies! And ruby red shoes like Dorothy!”

He nodded in acknowledgement from his throne down below.

Christmas 1992, Age: 4

Jorie tree

By the time I was four, I was wising up. “So, mom and dad—if those are your real names—how does Santa get into our house? We don’t have a chimney.”

“The skylight,” my mom replied.

“Isn’t the skylight locked?”

My mom sighed. “We unlock it on Christmas Eve and lock it back up after Christmas.”

Damn, she was good. Their arguments were airtight.

Christmas 1993, Age: 5

Rachel and Jorie

Christmas of ‘93, my older sister and I decided to catch Kris Kingle in the act. Dressed in our matching, floor-length American Girl nightgowns, we each took to a couch in the living room, determined to stay awake. We were snoring by 10 p.m.

In the morning, we discovered that Santa had left behind his boot—HIS BOOT!—on the ledge of our skylight, filled with presents like an extra stocking. During a recent home movie viewing, I realized the boot said “LARSEN—HEFD”, the initials of the fire department my father worked for. I couldn’t read yet, and my sister played along.

Post-Christmas 1995, Age: 7

Note to Santa

I left a note for Santa, telling him what to do with the cookies and carrots we left out. The response was written in an all-too-familiar slant.

“Mom, how come your handwriting looks a lot like Santa’s handwriting?”

She looked at me. “I’m not sure. What do you think?”

Deep breath. “I think you and Dad might be Santa.”


She nodded.

I didn’t burst into tears, like my older sister had done a few years earlier, dramatically heaving herself onto the bed, yelling, “YOU KILLED SANTA CLAUS! YOU KILLED SANTA CLAUS!”

Instead, I plunged ahead.

“And the Easter Bunny? And the tooth fairy? And the leprechaun who leaves those gold coins on St. Patrick’s Day?”

My mom nodded, solemnly, confirming my suspicions. She launched into a (very sweet) consolatory speech about how there really was a Santa Claus once upon a time in a small German village.

But, hey, it was alright with me. I’d rather have my parents tiptoeing around my house late at night than a strange man, anyway.