25 December 2011

My Thoughts On The Big Lie— Santa Claus


by Louis Willis
downtown Knoxville
downtown Knoxville

sad Santa
Santa is crying because he thinks I missed out on the joy of believing in Santa Claus. He is mistaken. Although I knew from the first day I heard somebody mention Santa Claus didn’t exist, I still enjoyed Christmas. My mother told– no, warned– my father, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, and anybody else who dared to mention Santa Claus to me, not to be telling her son that Santa Claus lie.

You’re thinking I must’ve grown up really disappointed during Christmas when all the kids wrote letters to Santa Claus. Nope. I never told my friends he didn’t exist, either because my mother told me not to or I instinctively knew not to. I prefer to believe the instinctive thing. I didn’t write letters to Santa Claus because my mother said she was Santa Claus, and so, I told her what I wanted. Although we weren’t poor, still I wasn’t always sure she would have the money to get what I asked for, so you see, I was as surprised on Christmas morning as the kids who believed Santa Claus, with his fat belly and bag full of toys, came down the chimney.

Santa in chimney I liked the idea of Santa Claus. I liked it so much that I didn’t tell my two cousins, the daughters of my uncle the bootlegger, that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I became Santa Claus to them, helping my aunt or grandmother shop for toys, hiding them, and placing them under the tree on Christmas Eve after they had gone to sleep. Santa Claus may not have been real to me but he was to them. I always wondered, however, why they never asked how he could come down our chimney. He certainly was too fat to squeeze through the stove pipe after he got down the chimney and then into the stove, which had hot coals burning all night.

Christmas is the holiday I enjoy most. I try to forget the fact that the criminals, pickpockets, shoplifters, purse snatchers, carjackers, etc., are out in force during the holidays. What I enjoy most on Christmas morning is seeing the faces of my grandkids, as they open their presents.

But a TV commercial has me worried about the life of Santa Claus. The women in the commercial buy gifts at a store, and when Santa enters their homes, they confront him with smirks on their faces that say they don’t need him anymore. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, you understand, but I can’t help but think that, as Christmas has become more and more commercialized, some merchants may be trying to get rid of Santa Claus. Okay, I’ve seen some positive commercials showing Santa using a smartphone, so all is not lost. He’s fighting back with the help of digital technology.

To keep negative feelings from messing with my mind during the holidays, I listen to soulful Christmas music: Nat King Cole singing the traditional Christmas songs, The Temptations’s interpretation of “Silent Night”; my oldest grandson’s favorite,  gravelly voiced Louis Armstrong singing “’Zat You Santa Claus”; Booker T and The Mg’s instrumental “Jingle Bells”; and Otis Redding singing the all time favorite “White Christmas.” On Christmas morning when my grandkids come for their presents, they hear Nat’s melodious voice coming from the CD player, and I watch with a smile as they open their presents.

MERRY CHRISTMAS


8 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

My parents always told us Santa wasn't real. That knowledge didn't diminish my enjoyment one whit and Christmas remains my favorite holiday. I'm astonished and dismayed when I hear parents call for the firing of teachers who dare tell students the truth about Father Christmas. I wonder how that ties in with telling stories for a living?

Louis, a merry Christmas to you and to our readers and colleagues, happy holidays!

Fran Rizer said...

Louis and Leigh, what are you talking about saying Santa isn't real? My grandson says, "If you believe, you shall receive." I believed in Santa when very young, but I never bought that business of the Easter Bunny like my silly cousins did. In any event, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the Sleuthsayers and our readers!

David Dean said...

I'm with Fran on this one fellas...what'a ya mean "not real?" He is real...at least the spirit of Christmas is real as embodied in the jolly elf. Just (re)read "A Christmas Carol" and you'll be reminded that Santa is everywhere we want him to be, though sometimes he is neither fat nor bearded. Louis's grandkids opened presents with him this morning!

Merry Christmas to all!

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the chance to believe in Santa Claus. I never knew of his supposed existence until a stranger asked me what Santa was going to bring me. I would have been better prepared if my parents had told me some kids believed the Santa myth. Actually Xmas is not my favorite holiday by a long shot. I much prefer Halloween, I like to eat candy & pretend to be somebody else.

Louis A. Willis said...

My grandkids, when they see the presents under the tree, still believe Santa visited grandpa’s house and left the poorly wrapped presents.

From me and my family to all of you and your families, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

Robert Lopresti said...

Lovely piece, but now I have to quote Terry Pratchett's novel HOGFATHER, in which a preconcious child named Twyla asks her nanny whether there really is a fat man called the Hogfather who flies around the Discworld delivering gifts:

“Wherever people are obtuse and absurd, and wherever they have, by even the most generous standards, the attention span of a small chicken in a hurricane and the investigative ability of a one-legged cockroach...and wherever people are inanely credulous, pathetically attached to the certainties of the nursery and, in general, have as much grasp of the realities of the physical universe as an oyster has of mountaineering … yes, Twyla: there IS a Hogfather.”

Merry to all.

Velma said...

I just realized this is our 100th post!

Congratulations, Louis!

chimney pipe said...

"If you believe, you shall receive." I believed in Santa when very young, but I never bought that business of the Easter Bunny like my silly cousins did. In any event, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the Sleuthsayers and our readers!