When I was little, “the real Santa” always came to our house a week or so before Chrstmas. It was so special because he was making a trip just to my house, to see me, and to find out exactly what I wanted. It was almost as if I didn’t have to write a list, because I knew he’d be making a special appearance in my living room to take my order in person. As we got a little older, Santa stopped coming by the house and I remember being devastated, thinking that he’d never know what to get me. As we got older, my brother and I would often ask our parents who Santa really was and their response was always the same, “It’s the real Santa.” To this we’d reply, “seriously, who is it.” To which they’d reply, “the real Santa.” And so on, and so on, until we finally gave up.
Once my brother had Read, the tradition started again, with the exact same Santa (person) stopping by to find out what my nephew wanted for Christmas. When I asked my brother who it was he said, “It’s the real Santa, you’ll just have to wait until you have kids to find out.” After restraining myself from punching him in the face, I gave up on the idea of finding out who it was. Then when we had the girls, it was my turn to finally find out. I was not disappointed, and a little shocked that I hadn’t at any point guessed that’s who it was, but it was totally worth the anticipation and the wait. It was like a little early Christmas present in itself.
Besides wanting to share my fun little story, the point I’m trying to make is that since the tradition is continuing with my daughters, nephew and niece, it’s really fun to watch the reactions on their face when Santa actually knows stuff about them that they didn’t think he’d know. With the ten other Santas that the girls see at school, church, the mall and ringing a bell outside of Kroger, they don’t know the girls, so it’s a pretty generic experience for them. But this Santa, the real one, he knows stuff. And man does it help back the idea that he’s always watching them and he knows all…so they’d better watch out, they’d better not cry…you know the rest.
As a kid I don’t remember so much effort being put towards making sure kids were well behaved around Christmas time as there is now. The simple threat of coal in my stocking, or the idea that there would be no presents at all, was threat enough to make me want to be good. My parents might argue this with me. Now, having kids of my own, I see the side objective to Santa and the usefulness of the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Combine that with the Elf on a Shelf and you’ve got yourself a recipe for the perfect acting children from Thanksgiving on, right? Not so much.
I completely understand the logic and the usefulness of Santa when it comes to the holidays and making your kids behave, but I’m starting to not like how much I have to threaten them with the loss of presents when they don’t behave. At some point, they’re going to see right through these hollow threats and it won’t work at all, but for now, the fact that Santa knew that Huds threw a fit last week or that Elle was having trouble listening at school, was enough to convince them that Santa is real…and that he’s always watching.