I felt very much like one of Ms. Hannigan’s girls, growing up as a Hindu child in north Florida. “Santa Claus, who’s he?” When friends called in the afternoon on Christmas Day, asking me what I had received, static filled the line on my end.
In the years since, the holiday season became a tradition of giving and exchanging gifts between the doting auntie and uncle my brother and I had become to our three nieces. The tree, the gifts, the anticipation were part of their childhood, if not ours.
There was no pretense of Santa in my father’s house. His insistent “Who gave that? Who? How much?” said after each present was opened – always in ascending order of our ages, beginning with the youngest niece.
Fast forward to becoming manager of my own house and the Christmas tree is decorated by little ones while adults scurry around the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Santa and I have a continuing contentious relationship now that I am a parent. Why should he get all the credit for my hard work all year? I haven’t raised the idea of Santa to our sons. But I didn’t need to, when Mickey’s Magical Christmas could do it for me.
The recent crackdown in Doha against Christmas, is seen as a competition with the December 18th observation of National Day, inappropriately flashing holiday glitz in hotel lobbies and street poles.
Teddy Bear Tea apparently is no longer allowed to have Santa to grace the occasion, the entire reason any parent would spend close to $100 for an afternoon’s entertainment.
“We are not allowed to have Santa this year, ma’am,” said the apologetic hotel receptionist.
Schools have been banned from trees, winter performances, and snowmen. Nurseries, however, have not, as I found out being summoned to my one year old’s Christmas party in the middle of the workday.
My ambivalence to Santa has been challenged.