I don’t remember when I figured out “who” Santa Claus was (I don’t want to ruin it for anyone), but I do remember believing with my whole heart and soul that the cookies I left were eaten by the jolly old man himself and that the tracks in the snow on our deck were from his reindeer.
And even though we get older and some traditions fade, if you think about it, there are a lot of weird things we do around the holidays that wouldn’t be, should I say, socially acceptable any other time of year.
Shall we take a look?
- Let’s cynically address the Santa issue first. Technically speaking, parents are lying—albeit for a good cause I approve of. They are generally encouraging a radically dressed stranger to first grope their kids in public while pictures are taken. (This behavior is not encouraged in the middle of May when Little Suzy wants a pony.) The kids are then told to ask him for free things, as “if they are good,” this stranger will enter their house in the middle of the night, eat their food and leave some loot.
In other words, bribery always works.
- Next, in a society that makes a big deal over pretzel ads, being fit and overconsumption, the fact that Santa must be fat to be liked can’t be ignored. Mrs. Santa has a need for her husband to gain weight and has been quoted as shaming him by saying, "Eat, Papa, eat! No one likes a skinny Santa!" He needs to look a certain way and she tries to control his food. At the very least, Mrs. Clause is codependent.
Let’s move on…
- Stockings—we hang up big socks. We eat things out of socks.
- We decorate and then sit around dead trees.
- By hanging up a sprig of mistletoe in random place, we are encouraged to kiss whoever is standing there by choice or chance. Awkward much? This should not be allowed in an office environment, nor should people be encouraged to wear that stupid hat with mistletoe permanently attached.
Both are just creepy.
- Words and phrases like “ho, ho, ho,” “nutcracker,” “plump breasts,” “pipe” “gay” and “fudge packer” can be used without automatic assumptions attached to the meaning.
- Listening to Willie Nelson, Celine Dion or a trio of rodents sing the same song is not uncommon if you listen to streaming seasonal songs for any amount of time.
- We believe there really are three wise men that would remember to bring gifts and arrive on time.
- Little people (elves) and virgins (Mary) are praised instead of given their own reality TV show on TLC.
- People intentionally wear horrible sweaters with snowmen, bells and other holiday icons under the guise of “donning gay apparel.”
These are actually two friends of mine—both dentists who dress well in everyday life.
- Throughout the month of December, people who normally make nothing more than dinner reservations will take to playing the role of Martha Stewart by creating houses out of pre-made gingerbread and sticky frosting. They will then give away slightly burned cookies with ungodly amounts of edible embellishments and “traditional family foods” that no one in the family actually likes anymore under the guise of it being a gift.
You win some, you lose some…and you remember the sadistic soul that gave this to you.
- Displaying bright blinking lights and inflatable characters in your front yard will not warrant a neighbor watch meeting you are conveniently not invited to to discuss the “trashing down” of the neighborhood—as long as the displays are taken down by the time the snow melts, of course.
- Nobody thinks it weird when people dress their pets up in holiday outfits, despite a lack of enthusiasm from the pets themselves.
Considering she only has one tooth, I’m not too worried about retaliation if she doesn’t.
But that’s the beauty of the holiday season, isn’t it? We suspend disbelief and allow ourselves to enjoy some of the simple things that might warrant restraining orders or interventions at any other time of the year.
Except hats on the cat—that never gets old.
I made this short list and I checked it twice—what can you add?