Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Does Santa come to your house? Or is he already there in the person of you? And do your children know this? One parent has said that she tells her children the real deal, and they know that the presents that appear under the tree are the result of her labour. And I agree. Why should some character who they’ve never met get all the credit?

When I was younger, my parents perpetuated the idea of Santa Claus. Living in the Caribbean, we realized that he wasn’t coming down any chimney, so we assumed that he came through the front door. Semantics about whether our parents left it open for him or whether he had a key didn’t concern us in the least.

We knew he wasn’t coming with any reindeer though, because as gullible as we were about his existence, none of us was “fooley” enough to believe that those four-legged creatures could fly. And delivering all those presents in one night? Again, I don’t think we really cared, as long as we got ours.

But I hear there’s a bit of a fuss this year about Santa Claus – the fictional character of our childhood. Some people seem to think that the jolly old fellow isn’t truly presented if he isn’t white. Some anchorwoman from the FOX news channel declared that Santa is, was and will always be a white man.

Now some people accuse this particular network of passing off fallacies as truth, so maybe they’ll say that this is just more of the same. Not realizing that her comments would have sparked such interest and showcase her “fooleyness”, however, she later claimed that her comments were really tongue-in-cheek.

But she wasn’t the only one who declared that Santa’s beard isn’t the only thing that’s white. A teacher in New Mexico asked a black student who came dressed in the familiar red suit, where he was going with that, and if he didn’t know that Santa Claus was white. Lord, some people put race in everything.

Admittedly, when I was young, all the Santa’s I ever saw on TV were lily white, but if somebody was going to throw a local party, he was going to be looking a little more like me. So I guess I stopped believing in that Santa Claus before even I knew it.

Local Antiguan artist Gilly Gobinet produced a line of Christmas postcards with a decidedly Caribbean theme. So Rudolph was really a donkey, and Santa sometimes wore one of those Rasta hats with the dreadlocks attached while he lounged under a palm tree drinking a libation. But he still needed a tan.

My concern, however, is not so much about how Santa Claus looks, but whether my children think that he exists. I believe they’re on the fence – that grey area between belief and not so sure. And I have to say that I’m not helping the issue very much because, like the US military, I am operating on the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. If they don’t ask, I ain’t telling them nothing.


Merry Christmas!!


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