Monday, December 11, 2006

The Secret Santa

Every year it was more of a struggle. His questions were becoming more complex, more suspicious. But it seemed like overnight that we went from "How does that HUGE guy fit down our chimney?" to "There are eleventy billion people in the world - there's no way he can deliver to everybody."

I'm a mom. My job is to have an answer for everything. It's what I do. It might not always be pretty, but it's gotta be there. For example:

Question - How does he deliver around the world overnight?

Answer - time zones- and since some poorer countries can't afford calendars, Santa can push the envelope a little and deliver on the 24th or 26th. Please don't mention this to anyone because it embarasses Santa a little. It used to be easy to get to everyone when there were less people, but now with air traffic, pollution,'s a tougher world.

Question - How does he deliver to everyone?
Answer - not everyone is Christian - you can leave off Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Republicans...that leaves maybe a few zillion Christians, and some of them have been pretty bad, so they only rate a quick toss of coal down the chimney. How he tells the difference between coal and frozen reindeer poo in the dark after being up all night is beyond me. I never could, but that's a story for another day.

Question - Flying reindeer? Really?

Answer - steroids (not really) . Actually, the reindeer are an old tradition. Now he's got some pretty high-tech stuff. Not sure exactly what, since it eludes radar so well. Something with stealth capabilities. NORAD tries to track him every year and fails. Yes, he's that good.

Question - The Santa at the Thousand Pines Mall looks nothing like the Santa at the Sunny Valley Mall. And they both look kinda phony.
Answer - You think Santa has time right before Christmas to sit in a mall and listen to kids chatter on and on? Of course not! He's busy compiling his database, optimizing his hard drives and backing everything up onto disk. So make sure to have your list completed by December 1st so I can email it to him. Any later than that, and you risk crashing his database and losing your spot on his list. You know the part where he's checking his list twice? Yup -dual drives. But with a database that enormous, you can never be too careful. Oh, and the Santas at the malls? Santa has a deal with a labor union.

Notice that each answer led off in an interesting direction - maps, aircraft, computers, frozen reindeer poo.... However, as the questions got tougher, I had to resort to better distractions, such as, "Did you finish your homework?" or "Is your room clean?" or "Are there any cute girls in your class?" This would usually clear the room.

But he was persistent. Frustrated with the seasonal grilling, I finally said, "Listen, if you don't believe, you won't receive."

This scared his younger brother tremendously. He just wanted the goods and didn't want to rock the toy boat. "I believe! Oh, I believe!" he shouted like a good faithful worshiper at the Temple of Lego.

This year, now in 4th grade, my non-believer was studying the North Pole. "Mom," he said, "There's no land up there. Just ice, and it moves around, so there's not even a real pole or anything."

"That's strange," I replied. "Then where does Santa live?"

"Mom," he sighed, "I don't think there is a Santa Claus."

"What?" I gasped, shocked, shocked to my very core. I wasn't giving in without a fight. "Then who brings all the stuff on Christmas Eve?"

"I think Jesus does," he said, "Because it's his birthday, and that's the kind of guy he is."

I had no answer for that. None was needed. Sometimes the simplest answer is the one right in front of you, so close that you can't see it until you stay very still and calm, questioning everything, yet open to anything. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa - find your faith, stir it well, and keep it warm.


Anonymous said...

I think my son is NOT asking the questions because he still wants to believe and knows I won't have any creative answers.

sthnbelle said...

I'm in the same boat as heather, I think. My nine year old is at least on the verge of not believing, but doesn't want to miss out, so he's keeping the options open.

And I LOVE your son's answer!!

KDF said...

Annie, we're having the same struggle in my house.

They alternate between total denial while talking amongst themselves ("Of COURSE he can come down the chimney. He's MAGIC, Stupid!") and the need to feel cool, and smart, and grown up ("Gee, Mom, I noticed that this was the same wrapping paper that was on the presents that "Santa" brought. How do you explain that, HMMMMMM????"

But I will always put the milk and cookies out, no matter how old they get.

Mad Scientist said...

Annie could sell frozen reindeer poop to nohmads in the sahara that is how charming and captivating she is. Thanks for the hospitality Annie. Have a Merry Christmas!

Lisa said...

I love this. It makes me remember when I first found out there was no Santa.

Have a wonderful Holiday Annie.

ScottMGS said...

Good one, Annie! We never really said that there was a real, live one. Santa Claus represented the spirit of giving that is found in everyone (sometimes *very* deep and hidden) that is charitable to all. Nevertheless, it's Christmas Eve and our almost 18- and almost 15-year old daughters will probably be in bed before midnight tonight to ensure that their stockings are filled by morning.

I love your son's answer, though. That's faithful thinking - a rare commodity.