Saturday, December 24, 2005

Becoming Santa 

Last year, the very idea of Santa was too fearful for us to need to take on his mantle. Santa to the two-year was too much larger than life to be a comfort: that he might sneak furtive and fat into her own house caused no end of terror. We had him visit Grandma's, arriving afterwards to get the goods and goodies.

Santa the man still scares her, some. She still shies away from mallmen, hides her face from the Santa Train namesake. But a month or more of storybooks and preptalk has reinforced the correlation between giver and gifts; a lifetime of love for all things furry and fourlegged helps her focus on reindeer and sleighs over the man in red.

A year grown braver, and -- so long as she need not confront him; as long as his reindeer jingle on the rooftop only while she sleeps -- she awaits his stopover.

And so I eat the cookies she so carefully selected, leaving just enough crumbs to remind her in the morning. Darcie writes the note, half rebus for the preliterate, signs His name in red ink. Baby elf in hand, we fill the stockings, bag and box the few small presents we have accumulated here and there between mortgage payments.

I, too, believe Santa never dies -- that he is eternal, though he loses his iconographic symbology somewhere on the late cusp of childhood. Writ large, the generosity that he represents is first and foremost the single most important gift we can give our children.

But the gift of childhood is itself enough for now, and it is, after all, what she needs most of all from us -- for what is childhood without the imagination, the externalization of that utmost value, the personification unsullied by a thousand commercialities?

Somewhere between surrogate and embodiment, then. Bearded, oft jolly, Daddy by day, but in the dark of night, the spirit of the season, arranging these few small gifts, all we can afford, here under the twinkling tree, as eager for morning as she. In becoming Santa we give without recognition, in the name of the very idea of generosity, all ego gone, the highest form of mitzvah. In being Santa, we, too, recieve his gifts.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:23 PM |

It is a beautifully written post! It is so touching and so true!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News
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