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Second-guessing Santa’s good and bad list

My car has heard nothing but rockin’ Christmas oldies on 93.5 since Thanksgiving. Oh man, I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday by far.

I love the multicolored lights brightening houses, the Christmas plays, the tender TV specials, the sacred nativity scenes, the good-natured snowmen, the carols, the presents, everything.

Well, I’d be lying if I said I liked everything. I can’t help but be bothered by the way ‘Christmas spirit’ can be portrayed. Here’s an example:

“You better not shout. You better not cry. You better not pout; I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.”

I sang this song as a kid, but my adult mind can’t seem to grasp how in the world Santa coming to town is supposed to be a good thing.

Think about it, “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’s sake!”

Santa Claus is a stalker. I mean, he’s going to give kids nightmares!

How in the world can an over-weight, disturbingly old man watching you non-stop from when you get into your jammies to when you brush your teeth in the morning be a good thing?

Remember when that shadow in the closet seemed like it had eyes? Oh, it did. It was just Santa checking to make sure your breathing was even. According to this song, “Santa” sounds more like the “Monster under the Bed” to me.

Let’s be honest. “Santa Claus is coming to town” was written by over-worked, desperate parents who opted to transform the legendary, kindly Saint Nikolas into an all-knowing, all-seeing judge who rewards the good and punishes the bad.

In other words, the portrayed “true meaning of Christmas” is a straightforward form of bribing disobedient, naughty kids by threatening to take away their presents.

In reality, nothing works that way.

My mom, my sister and I were braving the Day-After-Thanksgiving shopping spree in a department store a few weeks ago. In the changing room stall beside me, I overheard the most spoiled, selfish, hateful young teenager I had ever come across order her mom around and make demands.

Worst of all, as we checked out, there stood both mom and brat with everything she had asked for. If anyone deserved nothing but coal in her stockings, it was this girl.

On the other hand, there are many other families that can’t afford long, expensive Christmas lists, whether their kids are good or not. How does the Santa reward system work then?

Besides, how does Santa decide who’s on the naughty list and who isn’t? Are we graded on a bell curve, with half good and half bad?

No one can be good all the time. We’re human, so it doesn’t work that way. We would need a “good the majority of the time” category, and “heart is in the right place” category.

If only a certain percentage get in, maybe we should all just spend more time compelling the “good kids” to do bad things to make our chances better. (Or would that be bad?)

In my family, our parents tried to spend the same amount on me and my siblings, making sure we all opened the same number of presents, regardless if one’s behavior was better than another’s.

Why? My parents loved us all and chose not to show favoritism between us (and I readily admit that my sister should have gotten more than me).

In the same way, back when old Saint Nick was in business, he didn’t follow kids around, take notes on their behavior, and then only give gifts to those who ‘deserved’ them.

He donated gifts to every child because he loved children, he loved God, and he knew it was the kind thing to do.

In truth, none of us deserve gifts. Gifts are given to us because someone loves us and wants to make our day bright.

By now, most of us know that Santa doesn’t bring presents — sorry, y’all — but there was one Gift in particular that we all received on Christmas, which is why Christmas is so great.

That’s the whole point.

E-mail Jessica with comments at [email protected].

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