Santa is Dead. Spread the Word.

myth of santa claus and St Nicholas

Every year, the spawnlings are asked, “Have you been good for Santa?”

Sometimes, they answer with a polite “We don’t believe in Santa but we like to exchange gifts with loved ones during the Summer Solstice.”

Other times, I can see they really are too tired to explain it so they settle for “We don’t believe in Santa”. That usually passes the accusatory glare to me, and I’m okay with that.

This year, we have a new winner for best response:

“No. Santa’s dead.”

Courtesy of the four-year-old fascinated with old people and how they die.

We don’t do Santa in our family

Yep, I’m a cold-heartless bitch who is depriving our spawnlings of the most sacred magic of childhood… Believing in a man who visits your bedroom, while you’re sleeping, after stalking you all year long. To top it off, he is the Master of Extortion by holding your gifts ransom dependent on subjective levels of behavioural management.

Or at least that’s how the 11-year-old tells it.

In our home, we don’t celebrate Christmas. We don’t do Santa. We don’t decorate a tree. And for the love of all things cool, calm, and collected—we do not do the big roast dinner. Why? I’m Pagan. EG Dad is an Atheist. And the weather outside our Lair is a balmy 36 degrees Celsius with 90% humidity and a storm threatening to dump all of three raindrops on my freshly-washed laundry.

Instead, we celebrate the Summer Solstice.

Summer Solstice

Solstice (Summer or Winter) is an astronomical phenomenon. It is science. It is set in the stars. There is no messing around with whether it really happened because it simply does. Every year. It can’t be manipulated, delayed, or even cancelled—no matter how frustrating my kids may be after only one week of school holidays. Five more to go…

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. It derives from the words sol (being our Sun), and stasis (being stationary). In astronomy, the Solstice is calculated for the moment the Sun appears stationary, or ‘rests’ a little longer in one position in the sky. In December 2017, we celebrated it last Friday 22 December.

We are not the only people in the world who celebrate the Solstice but we are still in the minority. So much so, when we are asked if the spawnlings believe in Santa, I always pause to consider if it would be easier to just say no and not spend the time explaining why.

Do You Believe in Santa Claus?

Truth is: We have told the spawnlings about Santa. We have told them the full story (as accurate as you can be based on a legend from hundreds of years ago).

Santa is based on jolly ol’ Saint Nicholas, a Greek monk who was very generous with gifts to help out less-fortunate people. Originally, the tradition was to give gifts to the bones of St Nick, kept in a Basilica in Bari, Italy. It was Martin Luther who suggested changing the focus to children; a rather successful albeit slightly political attempt at enticing children and families to Christianity rather than making it about Saint-worshipping.

When we tell this story to our spawnlings, we point out how old the legend is.  We point out how strong the legend is. Most importantly, we point out how wonderful the legend is, whether or not it is true. The ‘spirit’ of St Nicholas is about sharing our fortune with others. We give gifts, we share with others, and we think more about what we can give rather than what we receive.

The Lessons of St Nicholas

There are two benefits from this honest lesson: First, the spawnlings learn the real magic of Santa Claus. The spirit of Santa is so strong, it can be shared amongst many people all around the world. Every Santa you see in a shopping center is another person reminding us about giving and sharing with others. Santa may be dead but he made enough of an impact to inspire copycats everywhere. After all, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

The second benefit is even more important: it has taught our spawnlings gratitude for every single gift they receive. They do not wake up in the morning and expect Santa to have left a present for them. Instead, they understand the love behind every gift they receive. They know the true person giving the gift and thus are able to understand the thought behind the gift. In return, the spawnlings place far more consideration in their own gifts. They ensure every gift means something and is not simply “stuff”.

Santa is Personal

Everyone has their own interpretation of what Santa Claus means to them. We ‘get’ that. And we respect that. The only rule we have is “DO NOT RUIN IT FOR OTHERS!!” Rest your panties, minions. We have made it very clear to our spawnlings they do NOT tell this to other kids. We are not responsible for other kids and their parenting but I will also not be responsible for revealing the betrayal between another parent and child.

Not everyone believes in Santa. I have met some who are utterly repulsed by the idea, and to them, I say “Okay. You do YOU.” The thing is, you never know where someone stands on the issue, and no-one should be reprimanded for asking.

Thus how we ended up in our situation today. Our spawnlings are absolutely fine with their understanding of Santa. They are not afraid of your questions. You simply need to prepare yourself for the answer.

Santa is dead. Spread the word.

Happy Holidays for all your festivities at this time of year.

Edit: Just found this pic which suits Zaltu perfectly

Wonder Woman is spirit of Santa

Santa stole my concepts, so I’m stealing yours

I am not the person who writes wish lists to Santa.

More likely I’m the person Santa comes to for advice.

Face it: I don’t believe in the guy.

At Evil Genius Inc, we don’t ‘kill’ the guy per se. We merely encourage the genius to disprove the myths. Or at least, work with them. And the kids work really well with that.

* He travels around the entire world, delivering presents – in one night.

I’m more likely to believe in The Doctor turning up on my doorstep with his TARDIS and offering to share some of his technology in exchange for a poker buddy in the 1920s. But hey, Sinister is convinced he can have a working teleporter before school returns. Laziness begets genius.

* Santa knows when you’re sleeping.

Dude. I’m a mother. I never sleep. Nefarious has ensured that this week. Mainly because he realised that when EG Mum is tired, her defences drop and she’s suddenly eager to negotiate TV time. Extortion.

* He knows when you’ve been bad or good.

Well, I think I made this one easy for him, there’s no magic in that. But then the Fat Guy went a step further and introduced this Elf on a Shelf.

Come on! You are going to continue your stalking practices with an ’employee’ that encourages kids to practice espionage? Tad hypocritical. Kinda lazy. Leaning towards creepy.

As much as I don’t care for Santa, I do appreciate my minions. They are useful, and by encouraging their hope and need for celebration, I can usually enjoy some good laughs.

So, in the spirit of Christmas blogging, as started by Daddown Under, I intend to do a shout out to those minions who have given me the best laughs.

Let’s start with Patient Zero – Daddown Under. I’m the first to admit – he’s not like other minions. Partly because I think I have a kindred spirit – and yes, I DO think he can be that evil.

Close second – Reservoir Dad. He’s also a little evil; mainly because RD stays at home with 4 kids. 4 boys, in fact. That much testosterone would make anyone a little evil. I know – I’m female and have 2 boys. But somehow RD keeps me from blowing them up, and has encouraged my own insanity along the way.

Then there’s Lori over at Random Ramblings of a Stay At Home Mum. She’s not evil. Not even close. But her randomness inspires my evilness. And she likes jelly-beans. Double points. I’m sure there’s a Forensic Friday waiting for jelly-beans. And yes – jelly-beans are evil. Try feeding them to your kids before dropping them off at their grandparents.

Number 4 is iGameMom. Whenever I need to find a new techy device to distract the spawnlings while I finish off the Shrink Ray, she has it nailed. She even gives me tips on how to claim that it’s “educational”.

And the final blogging minion who may achieve a breather this week from shovelling my shit – at least for Christmas – is Hopscotch Children’s Boutique. Hopscotch is an old friend from way back who has probably seen more examples of my evilness than I care to admit on a public forum. The fact that she hasn’t shared any of these – yes, she is extorting me to get a mention. But damn it, she deserves a mention.

There you have it – sharing the joy with 5 other suckers. Now they have to figure out how to say something nice about 5 other bloggers, and would probably help saying something nice about the Fat Man. If you are expecting him to visit. And deliver presents.

Because you don’t have The Doctor’s number.

One Social Norm at a Time

It’s amazing how excited everyone gets about Christmas.

Carols and bad covers of said carols are played repeatedly throughout the stores. Snow-field decorations adorn every shopping strip (no matter which hemisphere you live in).

And Santa visits each mall, ready to take photos and patiently listen to heavily-considered wish lists.

Whether or not the kids want to.

Now, hey – before you go all “Scrooge!” on me, hear this. I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Christmas. As long as there is an opportunity to celebrate with family, recount the adventures of the year, and begin preparation for world domination in the new year – call it whatever the hell you want.

But it amazes me how many people use this as a perfect time to forget any common sense they may exhibit any other month of the year.

Take Wendy Harmer (and Wendy, if you are reading this – welcome aboard). She recently wrote an article in the Hoopla about her brother’s kids looking rather uncomfortable on Santa’s lap.

Now, in this same article she mentions one particular complaint about the picture. And you know what – I agree with the complaint.

So let’s put this in to context. It’s Christmas. And some people really like having family photos of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap. And they will do anything to get that photo because it is sort of the social norm in Western Society.

Bah Humbug.

Wendy: You missed the whole point of the complaint.

Why the hell would you force young children into a situation they are obviously uncomfortable? They are not happy. Is this really a photo you want to keep?

Not all kids scream with Santa. I once worked as a photographer for Santa Photos (that’s a whole other Hell-Retell). There are some guys who are spot on with the characterisation.

But I also know from experience that there are some Santa’s out there that are down right intimidating – and yeah, I had no problem putting in a complaint about one in particular.

You know what – this whole scenario is pretty much telling your kids to suck it up, sitting on the old man’s lap because hey, it’s Santa.

It’s akin to “Suck it up. It’s Sunday school because hey, it’s a priest.”

Yep. I said it.

And I’ll say it again if asked to my face.

I don’t give a shit if it’s Santa, grandad, Padre, Rabbi, or even the sweet little old lady down the road. If my kids are screaming about the person near them, I’m going to respond by saying No to the offending individual. Even my own parent. I’m going to teach my kids how to trust themselves and build their own sense about right and wrong in those situations.

And then I am going to take them to the nearest Shinbudo Dojo and work on a few kata. That’s how they will be Evil Geniuses and not mere (and broken) minion.

I really hope that Wendy’s brother’s kids are never subjected to any type of child abuse – Hell, I really hope no kid is.

But it is a LOT easier if the kids can develop their own sense of trust and faith on this issue.

Santa photos like this are just crap. They are disrespectful to the kids, they are disrespectful to the photographer, and they are disrespectful to the original man who started the whole legend of Santa (now THERE is an evil genius… but that’s another blog for another day).

So Wendy – get off your horse. Recognise that this woman was actually trying to point out a major flaw in what too many consider a social norm. You don’t have to say sorry. But don’t do it again.