Letter to Santa

December 24, 2010

My daughter will be 9 in a couple of days and her belief in Santa is at its end. She’s trying hard to believe but common sense, and her younger brother Ed [(6) who saw right through Santa from the beginning] have undermined her unjustified belief.

She wrote this tender letter and left it for Santa tonight:

“Dear Santa,
This year is busy and we will have to visit (family) right after Christmas so, I would very much like to see you! If I don’t come to you could you please come to me? I am upstairs and very close to the stairs. You could give me something for proof or I could see you. Goodbye!

Love, Ahmi”

Disbelief is a normal thing for a child to go through, it’s a sign of growing up. I have no doubt that some day she’ll be old enough to believe in Santa again. Probably right around when she has her own children.

The whole family got together and watched the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol. The kids kept asking, “Dad, is this true?” I tell them that it’s true in all of the important ways, and a fable in the unimportant ways.

That’s Santa in my view. He’s not real like my car in the driveway is real. But my car also isn’t real in the way that Santa is or was. My car can’t make someone jolly, but Santa’s image can. As I drive down the street and see it crowded with parked cars, I don’t get all happy inside. But even the tackiest plastic Santa in the front yard makes me say “HO HO HO!” I don’t get to say “HO HO HO!” any other time of the year, so that’s some powerful magic.

Santa is an important myth for civilization to carry on. He’s like a great toy that only children get to play with. When my kids play robots and tigers I always address them as robots and tigers. What kind of mean person reminds them, “You’re not a robot. You’re not a tiger.”

Santa’s depiction has changed over the years, so in all likelihood he will evolve into a thin, non-smoking vegetarian who reminds children to recycle and that they are just evolved, meaningless molecules. Then all of the skeptics will herald him as a great figure for all children to believe in. That’s when I’ll write my goodbye letter to Santa.

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12 Responses to “Letter to Santa”

  1. Og Says:

    Merry Christmas, Doug. I look forward to all the wonderful Tennapel works sure to come in 2011. Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!

  2. Beverly Tandy Says:

    Your daughter will be 10 on the same day mine is turning 11! Kendall also figured out that Santa did not really come down chimneys last Christmas. I explained that we will continue with our traditions for the reasons you mention and to ‘keep alive’ the joyfullness and the Spirit of giving to those in need that Santa symbolizes. Merry Christmas, and ho ho ho! Hope you’re back on Facebook next year; these blogs are great but a bit of a pain to respond to :-)

  3. Jaret Says:

    I love the site, as well as your work in its entirety.
    My wife and I experienced the joy of anouncing to our family this Christmas that we are expecting our first child. Your post made me smile, imagining the possibilities the future holds.
    A happy and healthy year to you and yours.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Just want to say that I thought your answer was very sweet and true.

  5. L.R. Weizel Says:

    “Santa’s depiction has changed over the years, so in all likelihood he will evolve into a thin, non-smoking vegetarian who reminds children to recycle and that they are just evolved, meaningless molecules. Then all of the skeptics will herald him as a great figure for all children to believe in. That’s when I’ll write my goodbye letter to Santa.”

    Urgh.

    First off I’d like to point out the inherent problem when conservatives complain about such things. A lot of the “safeness” conservatives complain about here is a result of the corporate dominance over society they support and enable through their support of harmful neo-liberal economic policies and what have you.

    The rest is just nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with not smoking, of course, nor is there anything wrong with being a vegetarian.

    From reading up about some of the stuff you’ve written before, you seem to be one of many confusing a “lack of regulation” with “individualism”. Liberal socialism is all grey and samey.

    That really is such bollocks, as you can’t shove so many different kinds of people in the same group. It’s far easier, obviously enough, to do that with conservatives as they are largely made up of heterosexual white males. Individualism shouldn’t just be about economic freedoms, it’s silly. There are many ways in which I am very different from others, and probably would not have survived without welfare. Autistics and the like born to poor parents would just be a night mare, and some of them with the right support can turn out to be astonishing “Individuals”.

    The idea of a thin Santa is a very corporate one in of itself, a safe, clean healthy image to pin up there. The obsession with the ideal figure is largely fueled by the poorly regulated diet industry.

    And that horrible blast at evolution. I do not think we are just “Meangingless evolved particles” or anything like that. In fact, I find the strongly religious argument much worse. I can’t enjoy this cup of coffee as a great cup of coffee, it’s Jesus’s cup of coffee. The only “Individual” that matters is the JCI God and his various aspects.

    If something just so happens to be enjoyable, or breath-taking, then maybe it just is. A sunset doesn’t need to have God as an architect to be beautiful. The fact that something like that could arise out of the chaos of the universe is inspiring in of itself.

    Both atheists and the religious tend to fuddle around with the “meaning” of things, but maybe things ARE meaningful, just because they inspire us as conscious beings, the only things capable of assigning meaning.

    Just because others find meaning in things in a way you understand doesn’t mean you can paint them as some societal cancer sucking the fun out of everything for our kids. Not every non-christian is a nihilist.

    • tennapel Says:

      “The fact that something like that could arise out of the chaos of the universe is inspiring in of itself.”

      Inspiring to a point of being miraculous. Why are you so angry at my mind? Just let it go as yet another inspiring thing that arose from the chaos of the universe. Live what you believe.

      • L.R. Weizel Says:

        I’m angry because I am not a relativist, or nihilist, and I feel while you accuse me elsewhere of unfairly grouping people you are throwing around a lot of unfair implications as to what certain people may believe.

        It bothers me because the comment you shoved in misrepresents a lot of people, and unfortunately, you’re not the only one making these kind of comments either.

        I consider this kind of thing “wrong”. The implication is that those who “believe” in Evolution subscribe to nihilistic thought, which is not true at all. It is factually incorrect, and I believe pushing factually incorrect information about people after you are very clearly corrected is something that I and most people would consider to be rather objectively wrong.

        I don’t find it inspiring at all, I find it worrying.

  6. tennapel Says:

    All nihilists are evolutionists, but not all evolutionists are nihilists. It’s like all good songs are country songs, but not all country songs are good ones.

    I’ve never implied or said anything other than this.

    • L.R. Weizel Says:

      Doug, be honest here. It’s been a recurring theme in your works and the comment –

      “that they are just evolved, meaningless molecules. ”

      It’s not just about what you outright say, if you’re going to word things in such a way that is blatantly framing people as one thing or another, you have to take responsibility for it. Otherwise you’re just hiding behind semantics, which is very dishonest.

      Would you care to explain that comment then, because it does seem rather out of place regardless? You seem to be attacking various “Liberal” positions in one form or another and given your opposition to atheism and to some degree evolution, it’s quite obvious how that remark was intended. If you had meant it to mean nihilism purely, then throwing in the word “evolved” as if it’s a dirty word was a bad idea.

      • tennapel Says:

        My statements on the matter are pretty clear. I think you’ve got it right in saying that I attack various “liberal” positions, I’m in opposition to atheism (like a Christian ought), and to some degree evolution. I don’t know if evolution is a dirty word or a bad idea, but it’s certainly a weak idea. I’ll give it credit for being an idea.

  7. Christian Says:

    This is the first post that I read from this blog. I really enjoyed it, and you can be sure that I will continue checking this blog for more interesting posts. Despite being a teenager surrounded by kids who are cynical about Christmas, it was nice to find someone with similar view to mine.


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