The Christmas Conundrum

You really need to explain to me the point of this whole Santa concept. What exactly do you get out of buying me gifts and attributing it to some person that does not exist?

Is it, perhaps, a sense of humility? That by hiding your own presence in the purchasing of these gifts, you have created a selfless act?

But why? Giving gifts is one of the most obvious expressions of human love. All you did was take this intimate act and bury it in an anonymous box, turning love into an object that carried a purely material existence. You allowed yourself to give love and denied me the tools necessary to perceive it.

Writing this down makes me feel stupid. Why does this matter in the grand scheme of things? I guess, looking back, I never really felt loved as a child. I lived in constant fear of abandonment and grasped desperately at any sign that I mattered. But instead of anything obvious and real, I was given this fantasy of some elusive fat man who only dropped by one day a year.

I look back on perhaps the most essential gift of my childhood with a strange sense of shame. You used to sign up to buy gifts for poor families, and one year you got a family who, for whatever reason, owned a Game Boy game (I believe one belonging to the Donkey Kong series) without actually owning a Game Boy. You brought me with you to the store and I remember being jealous; I had wanted a Game Boy Color for so long, and to see you buy it for someone else was absurd.

Yes, I was a selfish child.

Then, Christmas Day came, and of course you knew the perfect gift for me; my childish outrage had made it clear. But the gift did not come from you; it came from Santa. While I was obviously overtaken by excitement in my youth, I also remember thinking about how much better Santa was at knowing what I wanted. What did that say about you?

This myth did more than needlessly shroud your care; like everyone else who engages in this fiction, you one day had to admit the truth. I of course had my suspicions, but it still left me feeling hurt. Not that he didn’t exist, but the fact you would commit to this act in the first place. I felt betrayed in the moment, and it took years to retroactively credit you for the gifts I had received in the past.

And, really, did I need yet another man whose sole purpose was to spontaneously disappear from my life?

I’ve always viewed myself as a rather staunch anti-traditionalist, and I wish I had a better explanation than looking back to something like this. This knowledge that the person raising me would choose to lie brought so much into question.

We call it a white lie, but I don’t believe the intent there is true. To believe this is a lie that doesn’t matter is to suggest the lie had no true impact; but it did.

Really, there are no white lies. Just lies.

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