When I first began to ponder this topic I was sitting in the living room watching Eric and Samuel hang ornaments on the Christmas tree. White lights twinkled, the pellet stove blazed, Bing Crosby crooned in my head (we didn’t actually have music on… I’m trying to create a mood here), and as Eric pulled each ornament out of the box he fondly recounted where it had come from. It was a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Father and son creating Christmas memories.
And then Eric unwrapped the Santa ornaments.
Now neither one of us brought much in the way of baggage to our marriage (thank God!), but we did bring several trees worth of Christmas ornaments. Most of them are cute and all of them hold sentimental value. Which is problematic because while I wouldn’t be heartbroken if two of them ‘went missing’, I’m pretty sure Eric would suspect foul play. They are two old-fashioned (or ‘vintage’ to use the trendy word) Santas carved out of wood. I’m sure some of you are looking at the picture thinking how cool they are. You’re entitled to your opinion. Mine is that they’re creepy.
It’s not just these two ornaments. I don’t like vintage Santas in general. I think they’re ALL creepy, with those extra long beards and the weird velvet cloaks. Ugh. But as Eric hung the ornaments in the most prominent place he could find, my mind began to drift from those particular ones to the broader concept of Santa.
Let’s see. He’s a big, fat, old guy who sneaks into your house in the middle of the night. That stunt would land anyone else in jail, yet he is beloved the world over. Sure, he leaves presents, but how do we know they don’t have little cameras inside like those nanny-cam teddy bears? I can see him sitting in his La-Z-Boy way up in the North Pole, a wall of TV screens spread before him, munching all the cookies he snatched from our homes, and watching our every move, naughty or nice.
Think about the songs about the guy. “He sees you when you’re sleeping.” Imagine waking up to find a stranger in your bedroom watching you sleep?? (Side note: This reminds me of that book, Love You Forever, that moms everywhere seem to love. The story makes a little more sense to me now that I have two boys, but if I ever drive across town in the middle of the night and set up a ladder to climb through my GROWN son’s bedroom window in order to rock him while he sleeps, do society a favor and lock me up!)
So I’ve established that both vintage Santas and the modern-day Santa are creepy. And I haven’t even gotten to the guys who dress up as Santa yet! First off, grown men who like to dress up are a bit suspect to begin with. Ladies, tell me you didn’t think it was weird to see piles of guys in Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker costumes (don’t even get me started on Chewy!) on opening night of the Star Wars movies. They didn’t exactly scream, “I’m a responsible man who would rather make your dreams come true than play dress up with my friends”. I realize that some guys get paid to dress up as Santa, so to you I say ‘kudos’ for doing what you need to do to support your family. Here’s my question though. Is there a screening process for these Santas? Are background checks run before they’re hired? When I was in high school, my friend and I decided, for whatever reason high school girls do things, that it would be funny to get our picture taken with the mall Santa. We started to think better of our choice when he told us to, “Sit on my lap girls” a little too happily. Let’s just say we didn’t hang around to give him our Christmas list after the picture was snapped.
So at the risk of sounding a bit Grinchy, to answer my title question I’m gonna go with Creepy Old Man. You may disagree, but just remember as you drift off to sleep tonight… he’s waaatching!