I have two memories of Santa Claus. When I was little, I suppose about three or four at the most, my grandmother and mother took me into the big City of Pittsburgh. They were Christmas shopping, and I was going to see Santa. I do not remember if seeing Santa was the plan, but I do remember standing in a long line. Maybe I got bored or didn’t want to be there at all, but when it was my turn I did not talk to him or sit in his lap, I climbed under his chair…… I do not remember how my mom got me out from under the chair.
Was I afraid of him? I think I was, but did not have the skills to tell my mother and grandmother of my fears. They were really angry that they had wasted their time.
My second story is when my daughter was in first grade we live in a primarily Jewish community. We had moved from Texas to New Jersey. The public schools system had both the Jewish and Christian Holy Days scheduled to be off. In the school system they learned about the traditions of both faiths. She came home from school and told me she wanted to celebrate Hanukkah. I told her she could celebrate if she wished but I was not going to buy nine presents.
One day, close to Christmas, I took her to the local mall and asked her if she wanted to talk to Santa (I wasn’t going to wait for her to climb under his chair if she was afraid). She told me no, that the Jewish kids told her that Santa was not real and the parents did that. “What if you’re wrong?” I asked. The reply was “I will see him just in case……”
We then had a discussion about the meaning of Christmas, sharing with the family and the reasons for the decorations. She did not believe even though she talked to him, but she said later “I wondered why I only got presents from Santa and none from you.”
My final words on that subject was “Don’t tell your cousins of your suspicions.” She never told her cousins and seemed to enjoy playing along with the adults.