Sunday, December 24, 2006

The jolly old man makes a return
2 Days to Christmas

As far back as I remember I never really believed in Santa Claus. I couldn't imagine an old man with a bunch of red nosed reindeers would be flying across Manama skies without alerting the air traffic controller. On the other hand, being the youngest in the family I had to prove that I wasn't all that kiddish, as everyone presumed, and so there was this extra effort to emphasise that I didn't believe in this 'Christmas Father' story.

However, come December, and there would be a sea-change in my belief system and I would suddenly begin to believe in Santa Claus and would make persuasive arguments in favour of the old man's existence. Of course, I'd be as loud and vociferous whenever my parents were around and, also, add how good a kid I've been the whole year. Well, I don't know if it was the power of my argument or whether the old man actually sneaked in to our living room, but every night after we returned from the Christmas Eve service I would find a little box near the Christmas tree.

Now there are many people who have the same ambivalence about Santa Claus.There are those who dismiss him as another paragon of Christmas consumerism gone berserk while others see him as a glaring example of the kind of Christlessness that has turned Christmas into a secular event.

I'd rather go for the middle road.

Yes, there has been an unhealthy focus on Santa Claus that has made most people oblivious to the fact that this season is all about celebrating Christ's birth in an obscure town in Palestine. And yes, most retailers have capitalised on the Santa Claus myth and are reaping millions of dollars each year.

But let's scratch away all the myths and views and all the baloney, and look at the impact of having a creature like Santa Claus around. On one hand, it promotes gift-giving, bringing smiles to the faces of children (and adults as well) and on the other hand, it encourages people to give gifts secretly. The whole idea that a gift appears mysteriously in the living room has its merits because it gives children something good to look forward to, and gives them good memories that will be with them as they grow up and become parents.

True, there is the ugly side of reckless consumerism and the drive to spend and spend and spend. But that's an individual choice and something that people have to sort out themselves. The point is, if they also remember that the season is also about a fragile baby that was born in Bethlehem with a message of love and peace and hope for humanity, then, it doesn't matter what other decorations colour the celebrations. As long as one remembers the main point because that's what matters

2 comments:

tooners said...

What a nice story. You write really well. I believed in Santa for a long time... actually until some little boy broke the news to me in class one day. After that, my heart was broken. But, even still, there was a part of me that still believed and w/ the stories my mom told to me, I couldn't help but to believe most times. There are some really good movies/cartoon type of shows that are shown in the States that, if you haven't seen, you might like. One is The Little Drummer Boy.. it shows how Christ was born and how everyone followed the Star of David to see Jesus and such. Very good for children, I believe.

Ashish Gorde said...

Oh yes, I love the Little Drummer Boy and am game for any Christmas movie anytime... always a treat to watch them anytime of the year.