Santa Hits First
Last year I had a major battle with the dude in red and white. Now December is here again and I find I am still in the midst of battle. Will I win? No. But I will at least get my head together enough to be able to connect with my children better over the subject of Christmas.
Here is the story.
December 2012 came, our Christmas decorations came out, as did our Christmas books, Christmas movies, Christmas baking and all of my Christmas music. My son was six and understandably ecstatic about the entire affair.
While watching Polar Express with my son, it hit me how much the Christmas story has evolved over the years. This movie goes into great detail about how Santa’s Christmas Village appears, how the elves dress, the sleigh, the roads, the buildings, the street lamps. What a picture.
Part of me was thinking, ah, the magic of childhood. I am sure he thinks this is so wonderful as well.
I mean, the images of Santa’s operation was so big, so incredible. The images and design attached to the winter holidays in these movies are spectacular. I love the crystal and ice, the rich red and green, the cookies, the hot chocolate, the shimmer of the snow and the sparkles and sweetness everywhere.
But at the heart of it, I feel this story is all about how Christmas gifts are brought to children who deserve gifts. About how stuff magically gets under the tree as a comfort for the cold season. The happy memories associated with that sparkling time of new stuff. The writers cleverly make me tear up at the end as they explain only children who can hear Santa’s sleigh bell ringing still understand the magic of Christmas.
And that is the concept that threw me over the edge. I think children get excited at the anticipation of the holiday, the family gatherings, the food, the gifts. They get excited believing in the story of the Magic Santa. I can see how the writers would think that is the ringing of Santa’s sleigh bells.
But at the heart of it, in this film, I think kids the message Santa = Justice = Happy Christmas Memories = Love ==> New Stuff. So wait a minute…I’m not so sure I like this!
They make a movie true to the holiday as it is often celebrated today, all right. But we as the audience are missing so much by thinking that is all that there is to it. Is this all we should pass on to our children?
Christmas is a HUGE holiday. There is SO MUCH to it. We have such deep memories of it because so much time, religious and cultural tradition, strong emotion (good and bad), business and consumerism is wrapped up together.
It is an AMAZING holiday but it is also a CRAZY holiday.
I feel like this fairly new Magic Santa character is glossing over all of the cool stuff going on behind the scenes.
So the other part of me was thinking, new Magic Santa has replaced the true magic of Christmas. And this is how Polar Express rose my ire.
Now since Tom Hanks is a major voice actor in the film, I cannot hate the movie. Tom is one of my weaknesses, he is just so darn likable.
So it is really the entire genre of Magic Santa movies and products that are getting a Bah Humbug from Lorna: The Santa Clause (all 3 movies), Santa Buddies, Jack Frost, all of the Elf on the Shelf stuff. There is more, but that is what I can come up with off of the top of my head.
Do I overthink things in general and especially when it comes to my children? Yep!
But I feel I must because I want to give them my personal best. I know they need me to be there to do my best to help them start to understand the world, to give them a handhold at the very least.
So last year I set out to explain more about Christmas to my son. I found out in quick order that explaining the entire story is no easy feat! There is a reason that the movies that make me so mad are really the only ones out there in the mainstream.
But, regardless, tilting at windmills, this started my war with Santa. I guess “war” is too strong of a term. But it is a fight to bring the other parts of the story to light.
I feel it shouldn’t be that hard. But it is.