One Christmas Eve (around 8 years old), I asked my Mom if Jesus and Santa were friends, she said, “yes, they are close friends.” That night I was going to bed and my sister Camie saw me and said, “JD, Santa isn’t real.” The rest of that night we spent sneaking in the hallway watching my parents and older sister Joy wrap our presents.
Now, Vanessa and I have two kids, and I’m not all that excited about them believing in Santa. Partly because I don’t want them sitting on Santa’s lap…. 1. because you have to pay money to do it, and 2. because I don’t like the idea of the kids sitting on some old White dude’s lap who asks them, “what can I get you for Christmas.” (sounds too much like these White politicians). Especially Luna, she doesn’t need to be sitting on Santa’s lap asking you for some presents. I feel like this would be the start of some bad habits. So no Luna you can’t sit on Santa’s lap and no Gordie, I don’t want you sitting on Santa’s lap either. We don’t need to reinforce that White savior mentality (Brilliant White person comes and saves the poor, needy minorities who earnestly need saving). But I need my kids to know that it’s Brown faces gave them these presents, just like I had a Brown face bringing me presents when I was little. We didn’t have White Santa, we had Brown Santa… and sure he may have been drinking a little.
Before I knew Santa was fake, we had drunk Santa. I think every family occasionally had a drunk family member and one of ours came at Christmas time reincarnated as drunk Santa. I actually never knew which family member was drunk Santa… my cousins probably would, but I was too little to really remember. I thought he was for real Santa. But I remember every Christmas we had a gathering at my Nana’s house on Christmas Eve and my Nana would make us wait until midnight for Santa to bring presents. Santa would come and bring us presents but he never came on time. So around 1:30 am, throughout my childhood, we would meet Santa. He would stumble out of his sleigh, and walk towards the house. I would be jumping around because I was happy to finally be opening presents. He was always a character, one year he fell out of a lawn chair and in his slurred words he would ask us, “what do you want.” And coming from a Christian home and not ever really smelling alcohol ever in my life, I always knew something was weird. But I would go with it. And I would take my turn going to sit on Santa’s lap. Let’s be clear, this Santa never brought what we wanted. These Christmas’ were really about family. Normally Santa, or my Nana, would buy us stuff like tube socks or soap on a rope. Not complaining, but all those years Santa never brought us our heart’s desire. It was our parents that brought us our presents. But I would go sit on Santa’s lap, get my present, open it and then head to bed.
I’m still reluctant on letting the kids believe in Santa. I would rather them just know it’s us. And if you don’t behave this year, Dad and Mom are the ones not giving you anything. But I guess I would let the kids ask Santa for presents if we had a relative willing to dress up… even if they had a few.