Sunday, November 25, 2012

Santa Who Shall Not Be Named

I have failed in teaching my child about the joys of the Holidays.  The only thing she has seen is the Madagascar Christmas Special which has made her believe that the name of "Santa" should never be spoken out loud. (Santa gets attacked and has amnesia. The penguins stage a coup and like to say, "Do not say Santa's name."  Very dark lord-esque.)
We attempted to take the girls into town to get their picture taken with Santa this weekend.  (In our town of 700 people, Santa is played by an old Jewish man with a truly amazing beard. I like the fact that the only Jewish person within a hundred miles spends most of his year preparing to spend December pretending to be a Christian saint.  You can't make things like that up.)  They were all clean and fed and dressed in cute dresses with pretty shoes and it seemed like the beginning of a beautiful new family tradition. Thing 1 does better if I prepare her ahead of time for these new life experiences, so as we drove down the snowy road, I casually started a dialogue about my ulterior motives.

Me:
"Maybe Santa will be at the store today, wouldn't that be fun?"
Thing 1:
"SSSSsssshhhhh, Momma. Don't talk about dat." (finger pressed tightly to her lips and eyes glazed over.)
Me:
"You know, some people believe that Santa brings them presents. We like presents, don't we?"
Thing 1:
"Shhh Shhhh SSSSSHHHH! Don't SAY that!"
Me:
"Ok. We won't talk about Santa."
Thing 1:
"You can't say that Momma, don't say that name."
Me:
"Fine. Although Santa isn't something to be scared of you know..."
Thing 1:
"SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I should have taken the clue right then and there and turned around, but somehow I hoped we would arrive and bribe her with cookies and she wouldn't even notice the jolly bearded Jewish fellow asking her what she wanted for Christmas. 
We got about two feet in the door when she laid eyes on that red velvet coat.  Her face went chalk white.  She collapsed dramatically to her knees, buried her face against my leg, her little body wracked with silent horrified sobs.  Awesome. Other children started looking nervous. What did that little girl know about that big bearded guy that they didn't? Couldn't be safe if a baby was crying like that... Other parents were giving us the death look as their offspring shifted and seemed to be contemplating bursting into tears as well. 
I half carried Thing 1 to a quiet corner.  We took a few deep breaths.  Discovered we could spy on Santa from behind the merchandise racks.  While she was willing to discuss how big his beard was and how soft his coat looked, she balked at the suggestion that we approach him again, preferring to keep a weather eye on him from her current hiding place.
Thing 2 hadn't made much of a fuss so far. She had been perched on my hip observing her sister's theatrics with a wide eyed fascinated stare.  I decided to cut my losses and just get one girl in the picture.  I casually walked up to him and sat down with Thing 2 on my lap. She glanced over, saw those spectacles and rosy cheeks and twinkly eyes and burst into tearful shrieks. Thing 2 is not a pretty crier. The photographer snapped away gleefully while I made awesome faces trying to convince Thing 2 that Santa Claus does not eat small children and she hyperventilated on my lap. Finally we left, a  trail of traumatized elves, parents, and children in our wake. 
So yeah...Christmas movies. With nothing scary.  Or overly religious. Or overly commercial. This is hard to find. There are either abominable snow monsters, or walking skeletons, or evil magicians, or green Grinchy Santas, or else they are too grown up and old fashioned. Any suggestions? What Christmas movies have you watched with your wee ones to prepare them for the magic of the holidays? 

1 comment:

Defying Gravity said...

White Christmas, pretty songs and pretty dancing