I Accidentally Killed Santa Claus

We were still a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, but as my daughter and I entered our local mall I could see signs that the Christmas season was already beginning to rear its overly commercialized head.  I’m not normally a scrooge, but I morph into one when I see people decking the halls before they’ve had the chance to digest their turkey dinner.  I think that as long as the turkeys of the world are blissfully unaware that they are about to have an ass full of stuffing, Christmas should be nothing more than a tinseled speck on the horizon.

 

calm this shit down...

I guess the management at JCPenny didn’t care that I had just gone trick-or-treating with my kids or that I had no desire to have Santa crammed down my throat along with all the leftover Halloween candy.  The department store was already dripping with tacky Santa sweaters and twinkle lights.  As I tried to find the nearest exit, my ears picked up the familiar strains of “Frosty the Snowman” over the speaker system – it was my very first Christmas carol of the season and I had barely had the chance to step one foot into the month of November.  When I heard the first few chords, I looked around in disbelief, searching for some store employee to blame for the auditory assault. When I caught the eyes of a woman who worked there, I vaguely pointed in the direction of the offensive sound and mouthed the word, “Really?”  She shrugged sadly as if to say, “At least you don’t have to listen to this shit all day long.”

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My 13-year old daughter, Meghan, was oblivious to my souring mood as she made her way over to the jewelry department.  Now thanks to Frosty the (unwelcome) snowman, I immediately started thinking about what Christmas presents to buy for her as she commented on the jewelry she liked.  I guess I fell right into the department store’s not so subtle consumer trap – hook, line and credit card.

Teenagers are notoriously difficult to buy presents for, and that goes double for teenage girls…. quadruple if it’s a gift of clothes or jewelry for a teenage girl.  You might as well just hand them the receipt for the item, along with your apologies for not even coming close.  I know that if it’s the wrong color, or there’s an offensive sparkle in the wrong place, the gift will be given a polite smile and then find it’s way to the bottom of their jewelry box or closet, never to be seen or heard from again.

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I knew I needed some help, so while we perused through the glittery baubles I said, “You should get a jumpstart on your Christmas list for Santa… and adding in some pictures would be a big help.”  Then I gave her an exaggerated wink and a nudge with my elbow, and continued to browse.

Meghan approached me with a look of stunned disbelief on her face and said, “Was that the moment??”

I was drawing a blank.  “You’re going to have to help me out because I didn’t wear my teenager decoder ring today.  What moment?” I asked.

“The moment every kid talks about – the one where their parent KILLS their childhood.”

I thought she was joking around with me, so I smiled and said, “Shut up.  Don’t act like we haven’t talked about this before.”

We have talked about the whole Santa scam before… right?  My brain started to frantically backtrack through all of our meaningful mother/daughter talks.  Here’s the checklist I came up with:

  1. Sex (check).  When she was about 9-years old, she wanted to know how babies were made.  I vividly remember her being grossed out when she understood what sex was and then realized her parents must have engaged in the behavior.  The conversation ended with a prolonged, “EWWWWWW!!!” and then she ran away.  Not exactly the bonding moment I had envisioned.
  1. Menstruation (check).  She got her period when she was 12-years old – if you count all the friends she texted first, I was probably the fourth or fifth person to find out.  I guess I should be thankful I was in the top ten, and that I didn’t have to find out about it on facebook.  After her admission, I took her through all the fun period paraphernalia and told her that Advil would be her new best friend.
  1. Drugs, alcohol and smoking (check, check, check).  We talked about the dangers of this stuff beginning in 3rd or 4th grade when I kept hearing stories about kids getting drunk and high in the 6th grade.  I would be thrilled if she never touched any of it, but realistically I’m just hoping to get through her high school graduation without having to ever find her laying down drunk in a puddle of her own vomit.

As my mind raced, I kept coming up blank where Santa was concerned.  Could it be that we had covered all these weighty issues and glossed over the fact that jolly ol’ St. Nicholas was a total load of Christmas crap?  It seemed impossible.  Equally impossible was the fact that none of her friends or older cousins had filled her in on the hoax.  But the forlorn expression on her face confirmed my worst fear –

I HAD JUST KILLED SANTA CLAUS.

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I tried to backpedal and pretend like I was just kidding, but it was too late – the fat man was out of the bag now, and there was no way of stuffing him back in.  I knew that Meghan would probably spend the next week mentally replaying all the lies I had told her over the years.  I could almost hear her future accusations, “You mean the EASTER BUNNY and the TOOTH FAIRY too?!  They were all LIES??”  Yes honey, but they were good lies.  (They must’ve been good for you to believe them for the last 13 years.)

As it turned out, I didn’t have to wait a whole week for the wheels in her brain to start turning – the kid always was too smart for her own good.  During the ride home from the mall, she spewed rapid-fire realizations at me, and all I could do was sit there and mentally calculate what this was going to cost me in therapy bills.

One of the best realizations she made was about our cat, Matilda.  Four years ago, Meghan woke up on Christmas morning to discover a new kitten under our tree that happened to have the same name as her favorite Roald Dahl book.  Now she knew that Santa had no part in giving her that cute, little furball.

“YOU found Matilda?” she asked.

“Yes!” I finally blurted out like a criminal who had reached the breaking point during a prolonged interrogation.  “And you have no idea how hard it is to find a kitten in winter!  The damn cats only mate in the spring!!  I had to visit half a dozen animal shelters before I found her and then I had to hide her at Grandma’s house until you went to bed on Christmas eve, and then…” I babbled on until the whole sordid story was told, and then we sat there in silence for a while.

It was my fervent wish that Meghan would grow to appreciate all the trouble my husband and I had gone through to create this fantastical ruse, and how difficult it was to maintain for so long.  But I knew that wish wasn’t going to come true anytime soon.   The few days that followed (what will now be referred to as “the Santa incident”) were spent with her saying things like, “I can’t believe you lied to me” and me feeling like Mommy Dearest right after she beat Christina with a wire hanger.

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I guess we know who’ll be at the top of Santa’s naughty list this year…. will any of you be joining me?

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42 thoughts on “I Accidentally Killed Santa Claus

  1. I’m sitting here in shock that a 13 year old still believed in Santa. My kids (and actually, me, too) stopped believing in Santa LONG before that. So just feel lucky that you were able to keep that belief alive as long as you did. 🙂 Some of the fun goes out of Christmas when the kids stop believing in Santa.

  2. I chided Kohl’s (while I was on hold and cranky) and CVS for playing Christmas music way before Thanksgiving (love “the ass full of stuffing…”) and both times got the reply, “It’s corporate.”

  3. Well, Linda, you just ruined Christmas for me as well. So much for Father Christmas. Now I know it’s really Mommy Chirstmas (snif).

  4. I think your daughter is so smart that she has had you conned about Santa not the other way
    around. If that’s the case, congratulate her and don’t beat up on yourself

  5. We can’t kill Santa, but we can definitely kill that Elf on a Shelf guy… I seem to be the only one who thinks he looks like Christmas Chuckie… There’s no Elf on a Shelf in this house, I don’t care if Dante has been selling arms to Al Qaeda…

  6. Wow. You really suck. Just joking. My effing ex told my older sons. I am fielding, dodging, and redirecting Santa questions from my five year old this year. My catchall answer is: ‘Shrooms do you think? Why?’

      • LOL, cursed auto-correct! Here I thought you were slipping your 5-year old magic mushrooms… hey, that might be a good way to make them believe in Santa a little longer – people hallucinate all sorts of crazy stuff that doesn’t really exist when they’re tripping! 😉

        • I’ve heard. I had a bad experience the one and only time I smoked pot, so I am fearful to every try it again. I think someone laced it with PCP or acid. I was high for 24 hours, and paranoid as hell. I think I almost killed myself because I was convinced that I was destined to repeat my life from the age of eight years old, repeating all my same mistakes and ending up in the same position I am now. It was super scary. If I hadn’t been hiding out in the bedroom, too afraid to come out because I was convinced the neighbors had called the cops and they were lurking around my house with drug dogs, I probably would have killed myself. Paranoia saved my life when I was high. *The End* (True story, but don’t tell anyone. Another reason I am UndercoverL.)

  7. Oh noooooooo. Haha. I remember I was 7 or 8 and I loudly exclaimed, HEY! Are you sure you’re not Santa Claus?! The wrapping paper is the same for his presents and for yours! They might have pulled the wool over my eyes if they had a response ready but their spluttering and terrified looks led me to think otherwise. Haha. I hope you two can look back and laugh at this soon 🙂

    • Sounds like you were wise beyond your years…. and that your parents weren’t all that Santa savvy 😉 My husband and I have special christmas wrapping paper set aside just for the kids gifts (same goes for the easter bunny), and I even change my handwriting on the gift tags so that it doesn’t look like I wrote them. Now if I had just taped my mouth shut….

  8. LOL! Fun post, Linda. “The Santa Incident” should be made into a movie with flashbacks to all of the creative things you did to keep Santa alive – before you killed him. Matilda is the best part. … You at least do Santa right by your children. I was scared to death of him, and my relief knew no bounds when I found out he wasn’t real.

    • It is kind of a creepy thought – having a total stranger break into your house in the dead of night. Not to mention the whole, “he sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake…” part. My 8-year old son said, “You know what’s creepy about Santa? If he sees you when you’re awake, he probably watches you pee and take a shower.” Perhaps he’ll be as relieved as you were to find out there really isn’t an old man watching him when he’s in the bathroom. 😀

  9. During a recent stand up, I noted that the previous Monday was the final game of the World Series in Baseball, and on Thursday I had heard my first Christmas Commercial. As that day was Hallowe’en, “What the F**k happened to fall?” Of course, there’s no money in it. As of today’s date, I have yet to start my Christmas shopping!

    • I haven’t started my Christmas shopping either. We just put up the Christmas tree yesterday (the 9th), but the outside of my house still looks like the black hole of Christmas spirit when compared with my (much more) festive neighbors.

  10. Not to worry about killing Santa Claus. She’ll definitely forgive you in time.
    Hang in there, and know she’s only a teenager! Think of everything she has to look forward to discovering while she still lives in your house!

  11. I like your post. I am struggling with the Santa lie as I have a 10 mo right now; I’m not sure if we want to go that route. I have a story I thought you would appreciate though; all the pieces of your saga reminded me of it. My brother is having his fourth child right before Christmas; the other kids wanted to know where babies come from. Being 8, 6, and 3, their parents did their best to explain. Afterwards the six yo said “So just like Santa comes down the chimney?” Yep…that pretty much sums it up.

  12. My son, who’s 10, keeps asking, “Is Santa real? My friends at school say he isn’t.” To which my wife and I always reply, “If you don’t believe in Santa, he won’t visit.” I think he leans more toward the “doesn’t exist” belief but keeps up a good front for his little sister. 🙂

  13. I am so stealing the santa pic…I’m on board with xmas shit coming wayyy to early. When I see the ornaments in the hallmark store in september it makes me want to smash them all…

  14. I had this problem with my daughter and I finally just had to tell her “Santa doesn’t do teenagers. He has enough to do with younger kids.” “You mean you’ve been buying (her older brother’s) gifts for the past 4 years?” “Yup.” “Okay.”

    Case closed.

  15. I am so jealous that you were able to keep up the ruse for so long! The Easter Bunny and Santa died at our house in one full swoop when my youngest daughter was only 8. (You can read about it in the post titled, The Easter Bunny called. Santa is dead.) It was a sad, sad day. I have TWO daughters – so this really hit home, “You might as well just hand them the receipt for the item, along with your apologies for not even coming close”. YES!!

    • My daughter has since admitted that she was caught in between wanting to still believe and knowing it’s all a lie – santa denial, I guess. I feel bad that I tipped the scales in the wrong direction. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time I added a bit more fuel to the childhood trauma fire…. probably won’t be the last either.

      I’m going to have to go check out the story you mentioned – LOVE the title!!

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