“…And he brings toys to all the good little girls & boys.”
“But how does Santa Claus know if you’ve been good?”
“Through his magic crystal snow ball. He sees everything because he’s always watching. Nothing gets past Santa Claus.”
My Mom suddenly broke into song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. This is where I’m supposed to smile, maybe even giggle with joy (or whatever emotionally balanced children generally do), but instead, each line she sang, ever so cheerfully, resonated only deep concern with me.
“He sees you when you’re sleeping.”
“He knows when you’re awake.”
“He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
Now, I can imagine for a normal child, this Santa spiel basically translated into “be good & you’ll get presents so just try to be good ok.”
But, I was far from a normal child. I took things very strongly & quite literally. To me, this translated into “Santa is hovering over you 24/7/365 scoping out your every move, shadowing you like an invisible stalker; AND he’s also judging you and everything you do, keeping a running tally, to see if you’re up to standard.”
(Nothing gets past him? Nothing?!)
(He sees everything? Everything?!)
To be fair to my child self, let’s be honest, this is a creepy ass song if you think about it; so I can’t really blame me, a kid who was constantly reinforced with after school specials of stranger danger.
But what was told cannot be untold. I now knew of the Santa Claus, & his all seeing all knowing ways. This I didn’t like in the least. I developed a paranoia. I pictured him always lurking just out of my eyesight. I would turn my head whiplash fast to catch him, but he was always too quick. I could feel his presence like a disturbance in the force.
It was unnerving….
I became obsessed with constantly manipulating my world to combat Santa; adapting to my new life with no privacy.
All I needed was a disguise. Santa is always watching, which made me figure he’s pretty dumb because it’s stupid not to take time off at least to sleep.
I felt my theory was correct & my disguise worked. Sure I looked like a Jawa, but I no longer felt a disturbance in the force. I’ll take it.
The blanket became my only defense; giving me the freedom & security to be myself again.
However, this “duck & cover” routine festered a rapidly growing irritation.
Santa became a nuisance; an annoyance & I was fed up. Oh sure he’s jolly & all. He gives out toys, brings holiday cheer; that’s all well and good. But he also invades your home & strips you of your right to privacy; distracting you with promises of toys, all the while scrutinizing you, determining your worth.
He’s big brother; the eye in the sky. Forget alone time. What alone time?! Santa is always there remember, so how can I possibly enjoy any alone time with Santa’s eyes burning judgy judgerson holes into my back?! Alone time?! I can’t even PEE by myself!!
I was starting to unravel. My blanket, my sanctuary.
Eventually, I became held up in my room. I had to always be on guard. Always be “on”. It was like the Truman Show, only you knew you were being watched, & the audience decides your fate. It was exhausting.
The more I thought about it, the more I could feel him right there all up in my grill; and the more defiant to the idea I became.
Nobody puts baby in a corner.
Something in me snapped & I let Santa have it.
“Who are you to judge me Santa? You don’t know me; and you shouldn’t judge people, that’s totally frowned upon in today’s society. Keep up Santa. And give me my space while we’re at it! What do I want for Christmas? For you to stop stalking me year round; picking a part my every action to see whether or not I meet your “nice list” expectations.”
“The toys just aren’t worth the hassle or pressure. Keep them. I have eight siblings that have toys; I’ll manage. And hey my birthday is in December so actually I’m set.”
“And another thing, I don’t recall signing up for this…”
Nope. I did not subscribe.
The lyrics to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” began dancing in my head; further fueling my anger.
~“You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout.”~
“These sound like threats. Are you seriously resorting to threats Santa? Desperate much? Watch out for what? What are you planning to do to me? Why can’t I cry? What’s so wrong with expressing an emotion?! What if I stub my toe or someone dies? Are you going to do something to me if I cry or pout? Is that why I need to watch out?? Clearly Santa you’re not coming off in the best light here.”
~“He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice.”~
“Ok that just has OCD written all over it. Great, Santa is one of those crazy turn-the-light-switch-on-and-off-five-times-turn-in-a-circle-and-clap kind of stalkers. I feel safe.”
~“Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.”~
“How do you plan on finding out? By, oh I don’t know…STALKING ME! Which brings me back to seeing me when I’m sleeping & knowing when I’m awake. I don’t want anyone looming over my bed watching me sleep. Creepy OCD stalker psycho. Lovely; why we allow this magic maniac in our homes is beyond me, but I’ll not bow to his whims. I’m calling your bluff Santa. You may take my toys, but you’ll never take. My. FREEDOM!”
(During this next section of illustrations, have “I Love It” by ICONA POP playing in your head.)
‘Twas the night before Christmas; and I slept well.
Christmas Day came.
Still got presents.
Bluff called. Target neutralized. Game end.
(Looking back, I guess my Mom never found out about that wild day of unleashed streaking chaos. Erm…Merry Christmas Mommy. ^v^)