Forgot to move the elf? Got busted for regifting? It could be worse.
If you ever feel like you’re shitty at holidays, please allow me to make you feel better. In fact, I want you to bookmark this story and pull it out over the next few weeks whenever you’re having a bit of guilt over acting with less than perfect holiday spirit. If you think you’re not doing Christmas right, just tell yourself that at least you’re not this bad. Here you go:
* * *
Where we live, there was this one Santa in town that EVERYONE went to for decades. I’m talking about a traditional, legendary, local custom kind of thing. A few years ago, when my kids were itty-bitty, that Santa passed away. He was old; it was time. It happens. And of course, it was in the news, because he was a beloved public figure of sorts.
[Here comes the part where you can feel better about yourself because you’re not me. Get ready!]
At that point in our lives, my kids were not yet old enough that they really made an effort to listen to things I said to other people in front of them. They were more concerned with poking each other in the eye, singing the alphabet, and trying to eat things they found on the floor of the car. So it didn’t even occur to me that they’d overhear when I said to a fellow parent at the park one day:
“So. Did you hear Santa died?”
Let’s run that line back one more time, just for impact:
“SO. DID YOU HEAR SANTA DIED?”
Yes. I said that. Out loud. Around children.
I’ll let you imagine all the backpedaling, explaining, and creative myth-adjusting I had to do after one child piped up, “Santa?” and another, “Died?” and then a bunch of others crowded around, chirping “Santa? Died? Santa died? Dead Santa?”
The point is this: When you’re feeling bad about yelling, “GODDAMMIT, WHO ATE JESUS?” when the dog chews up the Holy Infant from your tabletop Nativity*, just remind yourself: At least you didn’t tell a bunch of kids Santa died.
(* That also happened at my house.)
Ho ho ho, friends.