Recently, I received pictures of my niece from Christmas in Houston. And they got me thinking … I remembered how excited she had been about making cookies to leave out for Santa. I thought about her tossing in her sleep with images of fairies and sugar plums dancing in her head, anticipating the next morning to see if she’d garnered Santa’s approval.
That reminded me of how I felt before I learned that Santa wasn’t real, and came to realize my parents had lied to me to make me believe in some fairy tale. I was heartbroken.
It then occurred to me: The thought of Santa Claus pisses me off — much like the thought of my ex does.
What did Santa ever do to me? He never existed, that’s what. Learning that he wasn’t real was my first encounter with disappointments with men. And I think I’ve been jaded ever since. Because while Santa wasn’t the first fat old man to put me down, he certainly wasn’t the last.
Two Decembers ago, I learned my boyfriend had another girlfriend — and finding out that our relationship wasn’t real took me back to that same feeling I had as a kid when I discovered the man I spent my childhood trying to impress was a phony. So are all men phonies?
Why do we project that Christmas hoax on our children? Is it to prepare them for disappointments in life? First comes the Santa discussion, when we ultimately learn that a man can disappoint us. Then there’s “the birds and the bees” talk, when we’re warned a guy just wants to have sex with us. So what were Santa’s intentions for spoiling us?
As a child, I put my guard up, from the moment I learned the truth about Santa, and I haven’t really found a reason to put it back down yet. I fear the deceit of Santa has scarred me from believing that a good man really exists. Are they just figments of our imagination? But then again, toys did always end up beneath the Christmas tree.