Sweet Divinity: Santa’s Claws

Hello, Dolls!

First, please allow me to wish each of you a very happy/merry whatever annual December festival whose name doesn’t offend you.

There are so many different religions and godly deities vying for attention, merchandising power and candle configurations that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose one. In an effort not to piss off any of you, my fair readers, this year I have chosen to select someone off of the grid, so I’m going with either Johnny Appleseed or one of the Kellogg’s breakfast cereal mascots.

Growing up, my family celebrated Christmas. This was in the ‘80s before it even occurred to us that a seasonal Starbucks cup was flat-out blasphemy. It was a magical time when the only thing that was “pumpkin-spiced” was a pie made out of pumpkin, rather than today’s leaning towards automobile air fresheners.

“Magical” doesn’t even begin to explain this season. There’s the most traditional magic in which a virgin gives birth in a barn (breaking all sorts of health code violations because of the surrounding livestock) with one kid on percussion pa-rum-pum-pumming and a trio of know-it-alls offering gold and… air fresheners. (It all makes sense now.)

My brothers and I grew up being told that Christmas was really all about this magnificent and incredibly frugal and rustic holy natural childbirth. We were told to focus on what the holiday really stood for.

And then the JCPenney and Sears Christmas Wish catalogues arrived in the mailbox. KA-CHING!

From that point in October until Christmas morning, all that really mattered was we remained on our best behaviors, did our chores, used our manners and didn’t touch ourselves because Santa Claus is a voyeur.

I said what I said. Santa Claus, a man whose arctic sweatshop has a legion of employees suffering from dwarfism banging away on toys for an estimated global 2.2 billion children somehow finds the time to watch ALL of them, ALL of the time. All I could ever think about was how pee shy I already was with God watching, and now I have an audience that also includes His son and a morbidly obese Yankee with a penchant for flannel and whips. Yikes! Adding an Elf on a Shelf meant that I basically needed to practice my “alone time” in a black box theatre.

For many years, my twin brother and I would listen to our big brother brag about getting to go up on the roof to feed Rudolph while visions of sugarplums were doing a tango in our heads. (Well, MINE. It was the ‘80s, so Brad’s plums were probably doing “The Robot.”) Nevermind that it didn’t occur to us that our parents would independently be on the phone with social services if they allowed a six-year-old on a snowy rooftop at four o’clock in the morning with flying livestock, much less feeding the one with a radioactive nose. (Chernobyl and microwave ovens had everyone really concerned at the time.)

Then one July while contemplating the miscarriage of fairness, we approached our mama who informed us that ***SPOILER ALERT!!!*** Santa Claus wasn’t real. We were devastated. In July. And WE. WERE. LIVID.

“You told us never to lie! EVER!” my brother sobbed.

As a child does, innocently backing up my brokenhearted twin brother, I howled, “What about those nine reindeer on the rooftop of a two-bedroom, 500-square-foot rancher? Was all of that bullshit as well, mother? You’re the reason that daddy drinks! Now, if we’re done here, I’m going to my bedroom and waiting six more years for Bette Midler to become a movie star!”

Or something like that.

Later, my father came home from work. Brad and I waited with arms crossed, tapping toes and sucking our teeth as he walked through the door.

“The gig is up, old man! We know about this Santa Claus charade that you have been pulling over on us for so many years. We are fully aware that this was all a ruse to con us into submitting to better behavior and a clean bedroom! HOW COULD YOU?” I screamed while clutching my pearls and throwing my boa over my shoulder.

Daddy took a long draw off of his Salem 100 and said, “Because Santa was real to you until today, wasn’t he? I’m sorry we lied, but we just couldn’t rob you of a few years of magic even if Santa wasn’t.”

And then I understood. I was still hurt, and of course we felt a little defeated, but it was truly an interesting lesson to learn from our parents. I accepted it and we had a wonderful (if less magical) Christmas, then I began the very adult self-introspection that comes when you are aware that you will eventually be responsible for selecting your parents’ future long-term care facilities.

So, during this festive season, rather than thinking about some weird old man breaking and entering into every household on the planet, please try to focus on something more realistic. Like a class action lawsuit as Santa possibly delivers COVID and Rudolph’s kennel cough to each and every one of us.

Deck the halls, don your gay apparel and may the magic of this holiday season be your best yet. And remember that Santa Claus has neither a lactose intolerance or gluten allergy, so choose a treat that you feel most comfortable eating while lying to your children.


The Divine Grace

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