Do you believe in Santa? Because as a 37-year-old I can honestly say I don’t believe that there is an actual old, anglo-saxon bearded man who travels around the world in one night delivering presents to mostly Western children. No, I don’t believe it. But do I believe in the effect of Santa on children? Yes, I do. Only because I’ve seen it in my daughter.
I never thought that there will come a day when I will pay money for some Canadian media company to super-impose my daughter’s name, photos and information in their generic video. It is a digital version of Santa answering your letter and letting you know you’re on the good list. It is actually a great idea. I am just annoyed I didn’t come up with it. For $10 you have Santa saying: “Hello <daughter’s name>”. And you sit there next to your daughter child and watch as her face lit up when they get to the part of the video when Santa says they are in the good list.
The pride of being a great parent only lasts for a moment though, when daughter says: “I asked Santa for blue shoes with white laces, not pink!” My $10 gone down the drain because my capitalist, but gender-equality-aware daughter is very conscious about not asking for anything pink. She in her 7 years of living knows that liking pink encourages the very “bad” divide between boys and girls. She also knows the word feminist.
I was too excited typing in my credit card details to the Canadians I forgot to read the finer details of my daughter’s letter to Santa. And since it’s so easy to multi-task online while I was paying for the “personalised Santa video” I was also on eBay buying the shoes she asked for at bargain price. I used the photo on the eBay seller’s site and copied that in the Santa video. Again, congratulating myself on a fine coordination of video and gift purchase within a few clicks of the mouse. The colour of shoes was never a variable in the equation.
Anyway, I should have stopped there. Accepted that I was getting too carried away with this whole charade (and secretly enjoying it). Decided that she will get those pink shoes and she will like it because we’ll instil in her the sense of gratitude that she is even getting a present from Santa. But I wasn’t going to stop there, was I?
Today, I bought $13 worth of gift wrapper because it had the closest looking prints from the Santa video. I wanted the video to be so authentic you see that I thought I’d wrap the shoes in wrappers that were in the video. The $10 video must be justified by continuing with the theme. Crazy? Yes. Please don’t tell my partner I spent that much on a gift wrapper though.
After that, I went further and asked a work mate to pretend to be Santa at least on paper, on a very Santa-like Christmas card ($6 for the card). I was worried that daughter will recognise my hand writing or my partner’s. So clever of me to think of this detail, but not the shoe colour! Santa’s message went something like this:
“Dear <daughter’s name>,
Congratulations for being on the good list. I am sorry that you didn’t get the blue shoes you asked for. The elves have ran out of paint. I hope you still enjoy the present though.
See you next year.
Love, Santa XO”
The elves ran out of paint. My daughter believes that Santa exists, but I wonder how much she’s into this whole fantasy mess to believe that elves exist too? And that they actually make the presents themselves? Only two more days to find this out.
After going through all this trouble, I started wondering if I ever believed in Santa? I don’t remember a time in my childhood when one morning I just realised that Santa does not exist. I’m sure most of the adults will not remember that exact time, right? I also cannot remember times when I did believe in Santa. I kept wracking my brain for memories of Santa letters written, or happy Santa present memories. Nothing eventuates. It doesn’t matter because other memories came tumbling in instead. Memories of my father singing to Christmas songs, of Christmas trees with beautifully wrapped presents and my mum’s distinctive hand-writing on each card, the smell of pineapple-glazed ham cooking, midnight masses, kris kringle with relatives and lots more. Not a single memory was about Santa, but mostly just of my family, food and of a warm feeling that everything is going to be fine.
I wonder what my daughter will remember of her childhood Christmases? Will she care that Santa didn’t get her blue shoes? Will she remember she believed in Santa? Or will she reminisce on these Christmases 30 years from now, smile and think of how silly her mum was? I hope she remembers how silly her mum was.