by David Todd McCarty | Monday, December 21, 2015
I didn’t believe in Santa Claus as a kid. Ever. It just wasn’t part of our culture growing up. You might think that’s sad, but I never felt like I was missing out on anything. Frankly, I think I would have been pissed once I found out I was being lied to. I was that kind of kid.
My parents were Conservative Evangelical Christians when we were growing up. They’ve loosened up considerably as they’ve gotten older, but in my formative years they felt it was important that we lived apart from the world, and that meant that we celebrated the birth of Christ in a traditional manner without the intrusion of Santa Claus and his merry elves.
Of course, that’s not really true since we had a Christmas Tree, decorated with Santa Claus figures, reindeer, elves, red bows, popcorn strings and every other pagan ritual that had been coopted centuries earlier by the Christian Church.
It was a traditional, American, Christian Christmas. We knew well the story of Jesus and his arrival on earth. The Angles, Mary, Joseph, The No-Vacancy Inn, The Manger, The Shepherds, The Wise Men and even mean old King Herod. It was a story made safe for Children, without the immaculate conception, infanticide, barn birthing and the fact that the wise men showed up two years later, before being left in church, growing up to live a life of poverty and ultimately be murdered in the most painful way imaginable so that we didn’t have to go to hell.
So we would be watching Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer and my mother would walk into the room and announce, “You know that’s not why we celebrate Christmas….” We would all moan and say, “Yes Mom. We know. It’s just a show. Can we please just watch it?”
The upside, I guess, was that we knew the truth. We knew where the presents came from. They came from our parents, and grandparents and friends. None of that magical nonsense for us.
The downside, I suppose, is that we never had a concept of anything but a fictional, fairy tale Santa. For that matter, we never believed in the Tooth Fairy and certainly not the Easter Bunny, a decidedly harrier story retold about a zombie Messiah coming back from the dead, rather than a rabbit bringing toys and chocolate to boys and girls in little baskets filled with plastic green grass.
But it was what we knew and we were happy and we knew we were loved.
So there’s that.