Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Year My Sister "Ruined" Christmas

I only have one memory of Santa Claus, and that is because that was the year my sister changed everything.  Being opposite in our views of the world as children, my sister and I had very different takes on the idea of Santa Claus.

My point of view was that this was a wonderful opportunity! I couldn't wait to get in line to sit on this nice man's lap at the mall and tell him what I wanted for Christmas.  I was 4 years old and I asked for a toy baby carriage to push my dolls around in.  My sister wanted nothing to do with Santa.  Her perspective was why should she sit on a strange, large man's lap just to get what she wanted for Christmas.  Her parents, with whom she was much more familiar, could probably do the trick.  She was also very uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger coming into her house at night while she was sleeping and eating her milk and cookies...never mind the fact that he is leaving you a present.  That is breaking and entering.

She really did not like strangers at all.  So, my sister did not WANT to believe in Santa.  All aspects of Santa were very intimidating to her, and she would rather prove he did not exist than accept having a stranger in her house at night.  If left to our own devices at that age, my sister's wisdom probably would have helped her survive in the world better. 

However, I was a whole-hearted Santa believer.  Santa was a great man to me.  Sure, come on in my house and eat my milk and cookies as long as you leave me my doll carriage.  

But shortly after my very first memory of sitting on Santa's lap and asking for my doll carriage, my Christmas was ruined.  It was ruined in the form of my well-meaning 6-year-old sister who woke me in the middle of the night. I will never forget this night as the devastation embedded the memory deep into my brain.
My sister waking me up and getting me out of bed,"Becky, there is no Santa Claus." 
"Oh really? Then whose lap did I sit on in the mall?" 
"A man dressed up in a Santa suit."
"Then who puts the gifts under the tree when we're all sleeping?"
"We are not all sleeping.  Mama and Papa get back up and put the presents under the tree."
Taking me by the hand, she led me down the stairs where we peaked around the stair rail to catch our parents putting presents under the tree.  I was so upset.  I'm not sure why.  I still got my doll carriage that I asked for.  I just wished that it had been Santa that got it for me.

I just asked my mother if she told Megan there was no Santa in order to ease her fears of him.  She doesn't think so.  She said my dad felt guilty for telling us a tale and would rather we experience reality.  But I know they did not reveal this information to me until I caught them.

Christmas was never the same since.  It was not worse. It was just different.  I went straight to my parents with my Christmas gift wishes.  I did miss sitting on Santa's lap in the mall.  And, though I knew he wasn't real, a part of me still wanted to sit on his lap and put in my Christmas requests.  

Whatever their take on Santa Claus is, parents have different reasons for making him a part of Christmas or not for their children.  Personally, I have settled on the idea that there was a Saint Nicholas, and Santa Claus a symbol.  He is a symbol of undying generosity.  And I like that even if he isn't "real."

By the way, I love my sister very much and I do not hold it against her that she pulled the mask off of Santa for me that one year.

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