Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thankful 24: Santa

I don't have kids, but I have a neice and two nephews who all belive in Santa (and so they should, the fat man is awesome!)

But Santa is a minefield. You have to watch the conversations you have with adults with little ears around. You can't make Santa jokes. And, despite telling children to never lie, you lie to them about Santa. Not Drowning Mother summed up my fears of having children asking about Santa in a recent post. How the hell will I cope with the questions, I suck at lying. I can't even lie about a recent fine I was issued from the boys in blue! I subjected myself to losing 3 points, $240 and having to eat a massive amount of humble pie from the husband.

As elaborate lies we tell our children go, there are none larger than the whole Santa thing.
I mean, let’s just imagine for a moment if Santa was actually real. For one thing, let’s think about what kind of administrative support he would be needing. The database required to keep track of current postal addresses would be a complete nightmare to update, let alone provide technical support for.
Then there’s all those letters that roll in from children all over the globe. Someone would need to sort, open and translate them, enter the requested items into the database and then file the letter away in a filing cabinet the size of Western Australia. Because, if you think about it (which I obviously have), those letters would probably need to be kept for seven years, in case of some kind of audit, right?

Then there’s would be the job of coordinating Santa’s diary – you know, fitting in all those public appearances in shopping centres, community parties and street corners in the weeks leading up to Christmas. And let’s not even start on the travel arrangements for Christmas Eve and the stress of off-setting his carbon footprint. And I’m pretty certain there’d have to be a large team of logistic (and house-breaking) experts dedicated solely to planning his entry and exit points for each home he has to visit.

And then there’s the whole “who’s been good and who’s been bad” thing. Would Santa have surveillance teams working around the clock, spying on every single child on the planet all year around? Wouldn’t that just creep you out a little if it were true? And, most certainly, the definitions of “good” and “bad” behaviour would make for very tricky work for Santa’s legal team.

Luckily, most children haven’t worked in an administrative capacity, like I obviously have. They’re like top-level management who think that the stationary cupboard magically restocks itself and that the Food Fairy makes and delivers those plates of little triangular sandwiches and jugs of iced water.

Of course, my own children – like many others – occasionally ask a few logistical questions: “Our gas heater blocks the fireplace. How will Santa get in?” or “Who will tell Santa we’re going to be in Perth this year?” or “Why don’t you think I’ll get a Nintendo DS from Santa? [So-and-so] got one from him last year.”

[For the record, my answer to that last question was: "Mummy and Daddy have a special arrangement with Santa where we get to give you the really cool stuff and Santa gets to give you a box of sultanas and a plastic rainbow slinky."]

And I’m sure questions that might be asked in future years will include: “Does Santa drink beer at every single house he visits and does he get absolutely rat-arsed?” and “Where the hell does Santa get off saying whether I’ve been good or bad this year?”

So why do we spin these tales of flying reindeer and magical elvin sweatshops?

Because everyone loves a good story.

Because small faces that burst into smiles when they see that Santa’s visited in the night are precious.

Because many of us remember what it was like to be a child and to see a world untethered by policies or procedures and instead full of magic and possibility.

Just because.
For now I will just run and hide when a child mentions Santa to me
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