Deciphering Santa

By Cynthia Adler

I told her I didn’t have to rethink it. And then she said, “Well...I don’t think he is , because if he was, he would bring me things that I want. Not that stinky sweater I got last year with a stupid color I hate. And he gave me those yucky oatmeal cookies that made me barf!” I asked her how she knew the word “barf” and with a superior attitude, she said that she learned it when she was five. I didn’t ask her anything more about that word, but our Santa conversation was far from over.

She said, “how come he doesn’t know all the things I want, huh? I do get some of the things I want, like an Indian doll that I saw on the computer two years ago, and I have to say I did get a cocker spaniel last year...he wasn’t wrapped, but I didn’t care. But some of the other things I just didn’t really care about either, and I hated that ugly sweater. I’m never going to wear it anyway!” She then tore into her meatballs and started humming. Which I actually thought was a very odd segue. But hey...she’s nine.

I then asked her if she had ever written a Christmas list to Santa telling him what she wanted. She looked at me like maybe I had lost it. “Where would I send a letter to Santa? Got any ideas? Maybe the North Pole? Nobody’s there!”
I went for a piece of the olive bread at that point. “And what about the books that bored me into nothingness?” she said, while she tried to get some of the mashed potatoes out of the big bowl and dropped some of them in the middle of the table. After she picked them up with her hands and sucked the potatoes down, I started to think about my own childhood when I opened a present to find it was a little mop to clean my room. I asked my dad why Santa would give me that, and he said, “Because cleanliness is next to godliness.”

I think that’s when I started to get the picture. Someone was masquerading as Santa, and I think I knew who that was. I knew the peanut butter cups came from Santa because I asked for them every night before I went to bed. So yes, he must have been here too, but the “Imposter” showed up later and stuck some things under the tree that I couldn’t have cared less about.

I turned to the little nine-year-old Lizzie and said, “Do you think maybe an imposter, someone pretending to be Santa, showed up with those things you didn’t want?”

She looked up at me for a moment, stuck a piece of string bean in her mouth and said, “What do you think? My dad is the problem. He pretends to be Santa every year. I saw him a few times. My brother, Ritchie, who’s only six saw him too. And that’s why the real Santa never shows up.” I wanted to tell her my childhood story, but I thought better of it. And then they started serving the cake and ice cream and she was reaching across the table to make sure she got her’s first.

So I have a thought for all of us this Christmas. When you open your gifts this year be very skeptical and aware, and if you’re turned off or not really interested in some of them, the Imposter may have raided your Christmas.

Maybe it’s best to stay up all night this year. Who knows what you might find. And if the Imposter shows up with some nicely wrapped packages that you may not have any use for, call 911. They deserve what’s coming to them!

Merry Christmas, Hip Silvers...

And A very Happy New Year to All.


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