Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Open Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa (aka Herr Klaus):

Let me state right off that I do not believe in you. The truth was revealed to me when I was about the age that my son is now (eight) and my mom asked me to help gather the trash together from the basement. There among the detritus was the packaging from all of the toys, which had just been unwrapped just days before as part of the Christmas Day festivities. I remember pausing, and my mother looked up at me, exasperated for having to deal with the trash in the first place, and said, "You knew that Santa was mommy and daddy. Now help me get this trash together." I don't know if I had actually put much thought into it, but it wasn't surprising. The ruse was fun though -- including leaving cookies and milk for your midnight snack -- and I sometimes miss participating in these holiday rituals with my own son.

Santa, for me you went the way of God, Jesus, the tooth fairy, unicorns and nice republicans. One day I just realized that those aforementioned entities and deities just do not exist, and once that curtain is pulled back, and the conman, working the levers is revealed...well, there's just no going back to what some call faith. As Mark Twain once wrote: "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." I know that you ain't so Santa, even though I still tear up watching "It's a Wonderful Life," or listening to Linus' speech about the true meaning of Christmas in the Charlie Brown special. I grew up with you Santa, even after I knew that there was no castle at the North Pole, with elves toiling through the months to get all the toys ready for the well-behaved children. Imagine the time it takes these elves to painstakingly paint on to each toy "Made in China." That takes a lot of imagination, or faith.

I used to maintain online Christmas wish lists, and some of my tech savvy relatives and friends would sometimes even purchase gifts for me from these lists. These days I'm too busy to maintain those kinds of lists, and I hang with a different circle of people now, who do not buy into the Christmas shopping madness, never mind buying the presents that go along with it.

That being said, here is my Christmas wish list for the year of our lord Santa, 2014:
  • Two recent films on DVD: "Lucy" and "Under the Skin" both starring the inimitable Scarlett Johansson.
  • A new pair of running shoes, and/or moccasins (Minnetonka brand)
  • A new pipe, grinder, and pipe pouch. Maybe even a little bud. I realize that this is a lot to ask, but a.) it's legal here, plus b.) Santa is a stoner. I have definitely faith in that.
  •  A gift card for the Stetson shop in downtown Seattle. I need to replace my grampa's old fedora.
  • And last, but never least, a gift card to my favorite bookstore and semi-favorite place to work, Ravenna Third Place. Buy Independent!
So, Make-Believe Santa, I'm not going to sit on your lap and produce a list this year. I probably will not even enter the Northgate Mall, which seems to be your local hangout at this time of year. I'll wrap enough gifts in the next few weeks to give us both carpal tunnel syndrome.  The Christmas music, spilling over from cafe at work, is starting to fray my already tenuous nerves. And Christmas, like Thanksgiving before it, is an unpaid holiday. So, even though I will have worked hard to keep my boss supplied in golf clubs to put into the trunk of his Tesla (or his vintage Porsche), I will be receiving a short paycheck the day after Christmas. Ho, ho, fucking ho....

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