It is almost Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and that means the season for me to play Christmas music non-stop for an entire month is just days away. There is no mystery here that I love Christmas. But, alas, this year we won’t be home for Christmas. It will be the first Christmas ever in my lifetime that I spend away from home.
The good news is that over the past few years I have done everything I can to infect my wife with the joys of Christmas, and just as I have learned to love Ramadan from her, she too is catching on. And while we spent the last couple of Christmases in the U.S. with my family there, this year we get to build our own Merry Little Christmas in Madrid. The bad news, though, the possibly traumatic news goes something like this:
The other day, the wife — who did not grow up in a Christmas-celebrating, consumer obsessed nation — asked if it was traumatic for me as a child when I first learned that Santa Claus did not really exist.
My initial response was that I didn’t remember the moment when I first learned that Santa Claus was not real or that I was ever bothered it. For me, Santa Claus was not that fat white dude dressed like a Coke commercial but a combination of things: Santa was my parents waiting for me and my brother and sister to fall asleep to put presents under the tree, and Santa was three different signatures: each conspicuously similar in style to my mother and two grandmothers’ handwriting respectively. It wasn’t really a question of who Santa was, for I always loved what he was.
So while I can’t really remember a time in my childhood when I actually believed in Santa, I don’t actually have any proof that Santa Claus does not in fact exist. As far as I can remember, no matter the age from 1 til last year (or 92 as the song goes), I have always gone to bed on Christmas Eve and woken the next morning to gifts under the tree, signed “from Santa Claus”, that were not there the night before. And for years, even long after taking for granted that Santa wasn’t real, I always tried to stay up late to catch my parents in the act. Yet to this very day, thirty-seven Christmases later, not only have I never actually seen or heard my parents doing Santa’s dirty work, I have always been the first to get up in the morning to see what was under the tree.
Therefore to answer my wife’s question: It looks like I may finally learn the truth this year. So ask me again on Christmas morning. We’ll see if the traumatic moment finally arrives, or we’ll learn who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.