It was a picture that one of my friends posted on a particular social networking site that grabbed my attention:
I thought for several minutes about how tic tacs would grow into candy canes. I thought about chemical reactions to the sugar, I thought about how candy canes might be made otherwise, I thought about testing this one out. Then I smiled to myself and I felt really fucking jolly and festive because you know what? Magic is real and Christmas is real and this just proves it.
Then I realised that someone, probably a parent, would sneak in, ditch the carefully planted tic tacs, and leave a few candy canes out.
Talk about devastated.
It was like hearing again that Father Christmas might not be real after all.
I think we are too quick to dismiss that whole realm of wow and really.
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time reasoning with myself and convincing myself that totally, utterly, completely Santa Claus was real. Parents had to get the idea from somewhere, right? And the more kids there are in the world, obviously one day parents were going to have to lift their game and start giving the old man a hand. Besides, who trusts Australia Post with letters that are headed to a vaguely guessed-at address in the North Pole? Parents 100% have a role to play in assisting Santa, but no way are they the whole thing.
Santa still comes to both my sister and I. Yes, we help him, but really, it’s Santa. We’ve struggled to let go of these traditions, so every year we text back and forth about how many gifts Santa has to find this year and what we can tell Santa that the other wants.
Here’s something, though. I have a very clear and distinct memory that if I was naughty (and got caught), Santa would leave me with a bag of horse shit.
And I have never met another soul on earth outside of my immediate family who risked this potential yuletide ramification.
Even god doesn’t demand that you be good all year round – he has that convenient grace thing happening that means anything goes. The Easter Bunny also doesn’t demand decent behaviour.
But Father Christmas wants you to earn that bag of presents. He wants you to earn it and then to ONLY THANK HIM.
Which is kind of bizarre, when you chip away at it.
I wonder if he would like some candy cane seeds…
Did you get threatened with horse poo? Or were you a more traditional coal family?