Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa's having a goddamn Christmas crisis

A few weeks back I posted a photo of my 11-year old daughter's letter to Santa Claus on my Facebook page with the caption "I'm guessing the average 11-yr. old kid no longer believes in Santa. But obviously Martha is not average." Many friends responded that their 11-year old kids still believed in Santa or that their older kids continued to believe past age 11 and most people, adults included, maintain that they still believe simply because if doubt is actually verbally expressed then presents from "Santa" stop coming. And no one wants that.

I ended up thinking maybe it was not so unusual that Martha still believes in Santa Claus, which makes me happy because it is, in my opinion, a beautiful, enchanting part of childhood and even when you reach the age at which you begin to understand that is physically impossible to fly around the whole world in one night, stopping at every single household with children (and seamlessly skipping over every single household without children), even when you begin to imagine all those apartment buildings and homes with no chimneys and see that that there are just so many exceptions to the Santa m.o. that it almost renders the core tenets of the myth completely meaningless, even when you are mindlessly browsing through your mom's Facebook page and you see your very own letter to Santa photographed and displayed for all her friends and you wonder how did the envelope get out of the mailbox & onto mom's Facebook page, even after all that, if you still feel deep in your heart that it is simply right and good to believe in the magic of a man in red who delivers gift to all the boys and girls of the world then you have a good chance of surviving the many disappointments and heartaches that life will eventually throw in your path.

Fast forward one month and I am now ready to don my Santa hat and go purchase the desired and requested items for my dear child. I'll be honest, there are a lot of parts of motherhood that I have been less than fond of (for example, breastfeeding, much to my shame). But one of my most favorite roles as mom is when I get to play Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. When I do these jobs, I AM the magic. I am transformed from my mundane, boring self into a mysterious character with boundless powers to surprise and delight. I bring gifts and that's all I do, it is my whole reason for being. So despite the fact that my Santa shopping required me to go to the den of iniquity otherwise known as the Mall of America to shop at the only American Girl doll store in the state of Minnesota, I was excited to go play Santa.

There is a slight problem to begin with, as Martha has requested four items from Santa and she has been informed that Santa only brings three gifts. Several years back another mom shared her philosophy of Santa gifts, stating that each child shall receive exactly three presents from Santa because that's how many gifts baby Jesus got. If baby Jesus got three gifts, then any other child may also reasonably expect to receive three gifts, but no more. No child can receive more gifts than baby Jesus because that would be sinful and/or sacrilegious. What, do you think your better than Jesus?? You think you deserve MORE gifts than baby Jesus? Oh no, I think not. Three presents for you, kid, that's it. Don't be greedy. Just be glad you don't end up with a sock full of frankincense, and myrrh (although gold might be nice, especially a couple of big, heavy ingots).

So last year Martha requested three gifts and Santa ad libbed a little and brought one extra, unrequested gift to surprise her. Now she figures if Santa offered a fourth gift last year then it seems prudent to add a fourth request to her letter so that she can be assured of getting something she really wants and not some dorky pair of pajamas.

Well, Martha composed her letter to Santa based entirely on the latest American Girl catalog and the following is what she requested:
  • School Desk Set, price $42
  • School Locker Set, price $58
  • School Backpack Set, price $28
  • Campus Snack Cart, price $150
One hundred and fifty dollars?! Pshh... I don't think so. Baby Jesus did not receive a $150 Campus Snack Cart so I'll be damned if my kid is getting this item. Even the price of the locker set is a little steep, but I'll buy it and justify it in my head because at least it is not battery-operated and requires a tiny bit of imagination.

BUT! Oh no... when Santa arrives at the American Girl store and inquires as to where said Locker and Desk Sets might be located, she is told they are OUT OF STOCK! And BACK ORDERED! Until February! What the fuck American Girl? Santa does not deal in OUT OF STOCK and BACK ORDERED toys. He's goddamned Santa Claus for fuck sake! There is no such thing as "out of stock" in Santa's workshop; if something is out of stock he just gets the goddamned elves to make more. And they do it. Because they are elves and they are magic and they make the goddamned dollies and accompanying Lockers and Desk Sets because they can AND because Santa asked and they are bidden to do Santa's work and they do not go to the goddamned American Girl website and order the toys online and then wait for the UPS guy or the Fed Ex guy to deliver it! They're goddamned elves!

This was the elf in charge of lockers
Ok, so now what the fuck is Santa supposed to do? Obviously, Santa is now forced to cough up the money for the Campus Snack Cart because if she doesn't her kid is going to be one pissed off little girl on Christmas morning. Yeah, yeah, I know, I should have taken a break from the Tooth Fairy/Santa gig long enough to teach my kid about gratitude and the real meaning of Christmas and then maybe I wouldn't have this problem but you have to understand, Martha's autistic brain is VERY literal. Why the hell would she write a letter to Santa if he's just going to get all independent-minded and deliver whatever the fuck he wants? Or thinks she wants? Does Santa have ESP? I mean, seriously, she obviously can see that if Santa has to deliver presents to every little kid in the world, that's a fuck lot of presents and how the hell is he going to know what EVERY kid wants? He doesn't! He needs these letters. He needs some guidance, otherwise he's just flying blind and everyone's getting footballs and dollies. And Martha doesn't need a dolly. She already got that last year. The dolly needs a goddamned locker to put her goddamned books in but now she won't have that but maybe it doesn't matter anyway because there's no goddamned desk to sit in either so how the fuck is she going to go to class anyway? She should just skip school altogether and go have a smoke in the parking lot. Fucking school... it's for total losers anyway.

Well, as it turns out, Santa left the store with the exorbitantly priced Campus Snack Cart (but come on, look at the tiny hot dogs! Look at the tiny money!) and the School Backpack Set AND the Allergy-Free Lunch set which costs $28 and will not cause any American Girl doll or her friends to break out in hives or go into anaphylactic shock because it is ALLERGY FREE. No peanuts, no gluten, no eggs, no dairy. Let's just hope no one is allergic to plastic.

My dilemma now is how to navigate the whole Santa-had-a-little-acquisition-failure issue while still trying to preserve her belief in the jolly, old, magic guy. I have to create a plausible story and it really shouldn't involve Santa ordering shit from his iPhone. My other option is to just tell the truth, which, of course, involves crushing her tender, childhood soul so it is unlikely I will opt for this solution.

There's still time to travel around the country to other American Girl stores and see if they, too, have experienced the same run on School Lockers and School Desk sets and, quite frankly, this seems like the best option. Maybe school for dollies is not so popular in other, less educated states. OK, wish me luck. Ho ho ho!

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