a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

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.


  kerrycooks wrote @

Hilarious post Jorie 🙂

  Jorie wrote @

Thanks, Kerry!

  Natalie @ Free Range Human wrote @

This is too cute, Jorie! I love it!

  Jorie wrote @

Thanks for reading, Natalie!

  My Complicated Relationship with Santa Claus – wrote @

[…] I’m sending you over to my friend Jill’s blog, A Breakfast Serial, where I wrote a little tale about my somewhat complicated relationship with the Emperor of the […]

  di @ life of di. wrote @

I always enjoy reading your posts Jorie. You’re such a great writer – very witty and personable 🙂

  Jorie wrote @

Thank you, Di! That is so nice to hear 🙂

  amphomma wrote @

What a great progression! I have a 7-year old son who I’m not sure ever bought into the whole story of Santa’s creeping into our home, but was more willing to believe in flying reindeer…just the other day, he said, “I think the gifts that say ‘Santa’ under the tree are just from you and Daddy”…and I confirmed his idea. I also have a 3-year old who absolutely freaks out if a non-family member tries to help her, touch her, even talk to her sometimes. In recent weeks, I’ve noticed that some of her greatest anxiety has been around men…who have beards. She recognizes Santa but we wouldn’t dare suggest that someone strange might come into the house. I think we will enjoy Santa from a distance! Merry Christmas!

  Jorie wrote @

Hahaha, I’m so glad I’m not the only one whose “stranger danger alarm bells” went off about Santa. Have a merry Christmas with your little ones!

  Larry Who wrote @

Great fun, especially the thought of your sister throwing herself on the bed and screaming, “You killed Santa Claus!”

  Jorie wrote @

She had a flair for the drama as a young child…which I quickly picked up the older I got!

  Suzie wrote @

I just adore your stories Jorie, you have a great sense of humor! I was laughing that the 2 year old Jorie and the 24 year old Jorie both would move the hamper in front of the door…too funny!! 😉

  Jorie wrote @

Thank you so much, Suzie! Hahaha, I figure that hamper blockade gives me like, an extra 0.5 extra second (while the intruder trips) to get my glasses on and get in my fightin’ stance. 😉

  Jib-Jab wrote @

Loved the post! Too cute 🙂

  Jorie wrote @

Thank you very much!

  Veronica wrote @

So mom and dad, if those are your real names-LOL! You’re too much, I love your writing! On a serious note, though, this just reconfirms to me all the reasons why I will never lie to my children about Santa. We’ll play pretend just for the fun of it, but the kids will def be in on the joke when we talk about what “santa” is bringing. I don’t understand why you would try so hard to convince a child of a lie only to crush them later on. Sorry, personal pet peeve.

  Jorie wrote @

Thank you, Veronica! 🙂 I think it must be hard for parents to figure out the Santa dilemma—I don’t have kids yet so I don’t know what I’ll do!

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