Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Dad - Lessons Learned.

The tree is up. The presents are bought. Plans are made. Four days before Christmas and we are ready.

Too much stuff bought with credit cards though. Come January, ouch.

It’s all good though. All worth it really. The looks on the kids’ faces when they first look under the tree. Me wearing a goofy Santa hat, handing out presents one by one with everyone getting to enjoy the ooos and ahhs of everyone else before moving on to the next present. It’s something I learned from my wife’s family. We’ve been going there for Christmas pretty well since I met her. They taught me a lot about Christmas.

Santa, of course, will be the unseen star of the show. Cookies and milk will be left out, with my wife and I taking some nibbles and swigs just to make it look authentic. Gotta be careful these days. The older the kids get, the more they notice mistakes. Especially when you mention Santa. Several times this year, in conversation with my family, I accidentally slipped up and referred to something Santa brought the kids as something we gave them. Each time, my oldest daughter piped up: “But dad, you said Santa brought us that. Oooops.

Yep, Santa can be a dicey subject when you’ve got an 11 year old, and often before that age. This year my eldest is 11 and she’s taking some flack at school for her continued belief in Santa. She’s been asking me about Santa for a few years now. Many of her peers know he’s a fairy tale. My daughter is losing hope. A few years back, she asked me if Santa was real. I put her off and took some time to think about it. I decided that there were two rules I could not break. One, I could not lie – not at her age, where the desperation to believe is almost overshadowed by the fear of not believing. Two, I could not be responsible for shattering her beautiful, innocent illusion. She was at an age where fibs were no longer appropriate. This would take some finagling.

So the next time she asked me if Santa was real, I answered: “He’s as real as you want him to be, honey”. She seemed oddly satisfied with this. Like she understood that it didn’t matter if she believed or not. Whatever the case, I would support her. Big sigh of relief.

My youngest is 6. She still has the innocent trust in wondrous things that my oldest will never have again. And it’s my job to preserve it. One major rule in our household is that our oldest must never, ever, ever, suggest to her sister that Santa Claus isn’t real. Of course my oldest is, at this point, teetering on the brink of non-belief but hanging on for dear life. She may have wondered why I was telling her not to say disbelieving things if she herself still kind of believed.

I told her: “Whatever you believe, whether you believe in Santa or not, you are never to express disbelief to her sister. Your sister should be given the same privilege as you – to make up her mind for herself." Again, she seemed satisfied with this. Another big sigh.

And then there's the most important part of Christmas, the reason the season exists - shopping. Being a woman, my wife loves shopping. Thankfully, she often takes mercy on me at Christmas and tries to do as much without me as possible. Having both an x and a y chromosome, I seem to have an innate aversion to lengthy shopping trips. Determine what you want to buy, find out where to buy it, drive there, go in, locate object, pay for it, walk out of store, drive home, mission accomplished. Total time elapsed: 47 minutes, 32 seconds. Works for me.

But not my wife, or pretty well anyone else’s wife, as I understand it. For them shopping isn’t a mission – it’s an excursion. A leisurely romp through the isles and shelves of every #@*@# store in the #@*@# Mall. With men in pith hats, clutching butterfly nets, walking three paces behind.

But it’s all good though. At least my therapist tells me so. Except for the nasty problem with the anti-Christmas bunch.

They used to bug me a lot. I couldn't figure it out. Why would anyone want to remove the word "Christmas" from Christmas? Lately, though, I’ve found myself feeling pretty indifferent about the whole thing. I sometimes wonder - just what am I fighting for - what am I trying to protect? Our society? Our way of life? Naw. Not unless it’s the society of 40 years ago. Because the one we got now ain’t so hot baby. Hardly worth fighting for, in fact.

While we fight for semantics - to preserve the word Christmas - all around us our society continues to decay in a cesspool of commercialism, celebrityism, consumerism and decadence. Most of us seldom give God a thought as we breeze through our busy days. Unless, of course something goes wrong, or we are having an orgasm. Then it’s “Oh God”. “Oh God”. Maybe God is honoured to be summoned at such important moments in our lives. I couldn’t say. Maybe he sees it as an inconvenient interruption from more important matters.

The way of life I'd like to fight for is the way of life we used to have here in Canada not two generations ago. A way of life: where kids can run and play outside without parents becoming concerned; where people have time to get to know their neighbours; where people set down roots, raise a family and die where their heart and soul lies; where kids don’t spend all their time wanting stuff; where adults don’t spend all their time wanting stuff; and where people are encouraged to be self-reliant and independent from government interjection, not pandered to by a government that uses dependency as a tool to grow its power.

Getting more people to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” ain't gonna make our world like that again. It’s going to take a lot more work than that.

Whatever the case, it’s all good. The day approaches and time will stand still, just for a moment. Like on that fateful night 2006 years ago. Remember, every time you refer to the date, you refer to the amount of time that has passed since his birth. And that, my friends, the secular, non-denominational, pluralistic Christmas Grinches will never be able to take away.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Blogger Candace said...

Merry Christmas to you & yours!

1:45 AM  

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