Thursday, December 11, 2008

the magic of crimmas.

Christmas (and holidays, in general) at my house* was always different than most others when I was growing up, mainly because my family did not participate in the spirit of the season. The spirit of the season being somewhat defined as an outpouring of love to everyone around, selflessness and a generally good attitude. You know—Christmas cheer**. It was completely nonexistent at 369 Ridgeview Lane.

Christmas cheer was typically replaced with brutal honesty. No frills. No fluff. Just the truth.

I was six years old rolling along in the family’s ’89 Oldsmobile when I caught my father’s eyes in the rearview mirror, we were headed south to Mineral Springs, where the Christmas cheer decimal wasn’t much higher than at our house.

“Tell me the truth.”
“Is Santa Claus real?”
There was a brief moment of thought before a quick, “No, Santa
Claus isn’t real,” shot out of my father’s mouth.
“I knew it all along,” I mumbled.

And that was that. My father didn’t beat around the bush and my mother didn’t try to interrupt and vault away my childhood imagination for a few more years, with some story about my brother’s Nintendo appearing under the tree magically. It was as if she knew she was raising a complete and total realist.

I’ll be honest—I probably would’ve held on to the Santa Claus theory until I was at least eight had I not found a Diet Coke with lipstick on the rim right next to Santa’s cookie plate. The bag of chips sitting on the fireplace didn’t help either. I vividly remember only putting out cookies for Santa. Not Diet Coke and definitely not a bag of chips. Somehow I just knew that Santa did not go rummaging through our pantry on that Christmas Eve night.

Maybe, after only nine years of being parents, my parents were tired of the charade. Tired of all the games and lies. Maybe, they set themselves up. I just find it almost impossible to believe that my parents, two of the smartest people I know, couldn’t fool us into believing there was a creepy man, with access to all the houses in the world, delivering presents to me and my brother. I mean, my father could have sat me down and explained time zones to me and I would’ve bit. Hook, line and sinker. I was six. I wanted to believe. However, he chose to end the madness and just let me in on the world’s little secret: Santa don’t exist. The Easter bunny is a crock of shit and the Tooth Fairy character is just a complete farce.

And thus, the brutal honesty of the holidays started.

I don’t recall ever receiving a gift marked, from: Santa again, until I was about 12. I had been begging Laurie and Reg for a Gary Fisher bike. But, Christmas morning I woke up to a pink and purple Roadmaster bike. (Really? Roadmaster? Pink and purple? Who am I?) That was the smartest “Santa card” Laurie and Reg could’ve ever pulled—blaming that cheap-ass, knock-off bike on Santa.

* I would like to say that my parents are wonderful parents and always gave me and my brother more than we could've ever wanted or needed. This still continues today. I truly appreciate my parent's honesty with me and their attempt to raise me in the "real world" starting at a young age. I love my parents deeply and have no resentment towards them for telling me about Santa Claus.

** I would also like to say that things have changed a great deal in my home around the Holidays since this story took place. We have not raked leaves, carried firewood or cleaned out the storage shed on Christmas day in several years (at least three, maybe four). In general, I would go as far as saying we really enjoy spending time together at Christmas and look forward to it. We even try to play games and talk to each other.

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