Post 6

Christmas Collaborations

Illustration by Monty Vern

Why the Lie?
by The Thoughtful Beggar

Thankfully, because we were using a tiny stuffed basketball that couldn’t be bounced, I was able to drive the make shift lane and dunk on the small white plastic hoop that my brother and I taped up above a door way in our grandma’s basement in Kansas City. The overnight storm left a layer of ice on everything outside, and meant we would have to play our ongoing NBA finals inside and below ground. As the games raged on, the whole house shook from the mind melting volume of the television, so my grandmother’s post stroke and severely diminished ears could hear.

That was the only Christmas we spent with my father’s side of the family, and we were told as usual, not to say that we knew the truth about Santa Clause. They didn’t care for us all that much to begin with, and that was not something they wanted to know. At the time I wasn’t aware of just how difficult that holiday must have been for my mom and dad. All I knew was my brother and I got a pretty sweet mini basketball set (that we played for hours) and some imitation G.I. Joes that we were more than happy with. It never occurred to me how possibly controversial it was that my folks never had us believe in Santa, because even as a kid that idea was so obviously silly. In fact I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for the kids that did believe, the poor saps.

Illustration by Monty Vern

My family wasn’t poor, but we were far from just buying anything we wanted, and I will always remember my Ma telling me: “There isn’t some fat guy out there that decides what you get. We do.” When my brother and I got the exact same shirt, just in different colours, we knew that my mom bought them. When we both got underwear or socks instead of video games, it wasn’t an indictment on our behaviour that year, it just meant our whitey tighties were wearing out. Not to say that we didn’t enjoy Christmas growing up, we absolutely did. However my brother and I were raised in a Christian home, and shown that the season was not just about us callously listing what we wanted. My parents were strong enough to reject popular culture, and rightfully questioned lying to us about Santa, and then asking us to also believe them about another guy who died for our sins.

With age I have certainly questioned religion, and we have had our disagreements, but I will never doubt my parents absolutely always trying for the truth.

My intent with this piece is not to condemn anyone for how they choose to celebrate the Holidays, but I think we would be well served to ask more questions of our culture and the origins of some of the traditions we choose to accept as “normal.” For some the story of Santa is nothing more than good fun and photo opportunities, but for others it can be fairly traumatic and significantly erode a child’s trust. The fact that my parents did not have more to worry about during that cold and difficult Christmas in Kansas City, or the years worth of other holidays where I know money was excruciatingly tight, fills me with such rapturous relief. Life is challenging enough without the invisible weight of culture demanding the impossible of us

This year between the raging pandemic and profound economic downturn, it hurts my heart to think of the salt of the earth mothers and fathers trying to make this Christmas special for their babies while dealing with so much personal and professional loss. My parents gave my brother and I so much more by being brave enough to tell us the truth, and that is a gift I will always treasure.

Notes on the Author

The Thoughtful Beggar is a blogger who gives us plenty to think about. Another one of our original ‘Squad’ from when we started blogging, earlier this year. We were invited by Eric to write our very first guest post for his site and the rest is history.

We found ourselves aligned with The Thoughtful Beggars way of thinking and gravitated towards a space where “being united in the desire for love and compassion, outweighed any demand to be “right”. Reading posts from The Thoughtful Beggar is literally like exploring the inner workings of a very curious and intriguing mind. The images are also something to be marvelled at.

The conversation continues on The Thoughtful Beggars Twitter, Instagram and blog where the exploration of deeper thinking and spirituality gives birth to new ideas and thoughts, without judgement.

Notes on the Illustrator

All of the illustrations provided throughout Christmas Collaborations are original, bespoke works of Monty Vern

T.B.C…


9 thoughts on “Post 6

  1. We are always really clear that only one or two gifts come from Santa and the rest are from us. The thought that our kids might believe they’ve been better or worse than others due to comparisons of gifts just isn’t something we want them or their friends to have to deal with. It would be so unfair. They do believe in Santa but this might be the last year for large boy, we’ll have to deal with that when it happens but I hope he understands.

    Conversely, we have friends who have never encouraged their children to believe in Santa. But when they visit cousins over Christmas it puts huge pressure on the kids not to spoil it for their little cousins. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong approach so long as we’re fair and considerate and don’t teach our children materialism above kindness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We agree, there is not right or wrong approach and it depends hugely on the family. The main thing, as you say Smelly, is that fairness, consideration and kindness should be above materialism. That we teach gratitude and generosity, and that can be through making an conscious effort of spending time with loved ones too. Thanks for commenting. xx

      Like

  2. I agree in a way with this post.. my kids know that Santa don’t exist and they definitely know that mom and dad buy them clothes and what not. In fact we grew up and my mom told us that she had bought us gift and that’s the same way I do with my kids. They love watching Santa/Cheistmas movies but they know the reality of it all is. To help people in need many schools are making baskets with food for failies in need which is something we should always ain for… Thank you so much for the honesty ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is so fun to watch movies and enjoy the season! My concern is more about the over doing of presents and gifts being the main focus. It is so great that schools are making things for families that need it. Thank you Catarina for reading and commenting!

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  3. What an thought-provoking post. Believing in Santa (or Father Christmas as we called him) was always a big part of Christmas for us. I continued that tradition with my kids, although we didn’t give him credit for all the gifts under the tree.

    It’s interesting that we inherit our traditions and beliefs from our parents and just blindly continue them in many cases. As we get older, we question. I think that’s something our parents and grandparents never did. But, we must question everything or we can never truly appreciate or understand it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is so fascinating why we continue traditions and beliefs so blindly! Questioning things is one of the best ways for me to engage with the world. Thank you Michelle for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I question things more these days thanks to my daughters who are now young adults. They aren’t satisfied with the status quo which is a good thing. Growing up, I never dared question my parents beliefs. It’s good that young people today aren’t afraid to do that. As long as they are respectful about it, I don’t have a problem with it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I am the same with my folks and indeed with everything in life. Plus questioning allows us to understand why such traditions existed in the first instance allowing us to appreciate and make an inforned decision to either continue or move on. There are so many things within the Indian culture that were once relevant because of conditions, circumstances, and the mentality of people – which no longer serve a purpose in today’s society. X

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