Saturday, December 09, 2006
The Man in the Big Red Suit
How did you feel about Santa Clause as a kid?
The guy scared the crap out of me.
Mostly, I was scared I’d accidentally stumble across him doing his Santa Claus-y things on Christmas Eve and I’d piss him off (he’s a fairly introverted guy) and he wouldn’t leave me any presents from there on in. Being left present-less on Christmas is about the worst thing that can happen to a seven year old.
Every Christmas eve, we’d go to church. Sometimes, we’d go visit at a neighbour’s house. This stressed me out. It was already dark, I’d notice. What if Santa had already begun his route. What if he mistakened our quiet house for a sleeping house? What if he started to set out presents and we got home and he was found out! That would really tick him off, I bet.
The clock would tick by slowly as my father visited with Mr. Steffler and I’d wait impatiently for him to be done so we could go home. When coming inside the house, I’d sneak a glance at the roof for hoof prints. Inside, I’d rush up the stairs, being careful to avert my eyes from the living room (where the Christmas tree was) so I wouldn’t prematurely see my presents, in case Santa had made a mistake and come while we were away.
Santa sometimes set our stockings in our bedrooms by our beds. So I’d squint my eyes just enough so I could see my way around the room, but also so I wouldn’t see whether my Christmas stocking was filled with gifts yet. I’d get ready for bed, changing into my pj’s and brushing my teeth, in this semi-blind state. Then I’d hurriedly crawl into bed, a ball of nerves, and throw the blanket over my head and wait.
I’d plug my ears so I couldn’t hear Santa. Even though I was hot and couldn’t breathe very well, I’d keep the blanket over my face, so if Santa came into my room, he wouldn’t see me seeing him.
Not only was I worried about the ramifications of seeing Santa and the resultant lack of prezzies, but I was fearful of the fact that an unfamiliar middle-aged man with an affinity for youth was going to be sneaking around in the dark of my room while I was sleeping. Forgive me, but I’ve always been wary of strangers. And let’s be honest, how much does any of us REALLY know about Santa?
I have to say, it’s almost a relief to be grown up.