Odd Thoughts: Christmas takes center stage

When it comes to Christmas and Santa Claus, our lives take us through several stages, some of them distinct, others blurring into one another.

Perhaps the first stage doesn’t really count. It’s the very beginning of our being, when our entire awareness is centred on nipples (fake or real, whatever), enough warmth for sleep, and the discomfort of poopy diapers.

Neither real nor imagined, Santa and Christmas are beyond our ken. They do not exist in the time and space that makes up this fuzzy, eat-sleep-poop universe.

Somehow, while we shift our crawl into an upright position and upgrade the unintelligible babble of our babyhood into the semi-intelligible babble that will carry us into adulthood, that universe becomes one of wonder and myriad delights.

It’s the Santa Stage. In this stage, you don’t really experience Christmas, just Santa. If you understand anything at all, you recognize the word Santa and correlate it with flashy decorations, sweet foodstuffs, and cool things that play peek-a-boo in colourful boxes and bags.

It’s a year-round condition, though adults only recognize the Santa part of it for about a month in the dead of winter, which can be puzzling, particularly at the end of October and whenever your birthday is.

Next, the post-Santa stage begins when you first learn there is no Santa Claus, after all.

It doesn’t matter how you come to the understanding of Santa’s non-existence — snotty little naysayers at school, recognition of Mom’s handwriting on all the packages, or (as in my case) an older brother informs you that Santa died last year when he came down the wrong chimney and instead of coming out of the fireplace he got burned up in the kitchen wood stove.

Nevertheless, you are determined blithely to go along with the ruse, once you realize that, that way, you’ll still be getting the games and toys and special treats.

Who cares if the goods under the tree come courtesy of a mythical creature or they’re bought and wrapped by Mom or Dad or Uncle Ralph or your goofy brother who can’t stand you the rest of the year… as long as the boxes are there and they have stuff in them?

Christmas itself is still just a peripheral consideration at this stage. It’s an ephemeral concept that simply takes over for Santa who, after all, no longer exists.

If you go to church or Sunday school you’ll learn about Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus and three wise men and the miracle of the virgin birth yadda yadda yadda.

But the bottom line is, in this stage, Christmas is the time of year when you can score some really cool stuff.

This stage can last a long time. For many people the Post-Santa Stage will last right through most of the teen years and deep into young-adulthood.

Some won’t get past this stage.

For most, however, occasional glimmers of real Christmas meaning start sneaking into our consciousness, maybe showing up as a wish to buy Mom or Dad or even that bratty little sister something special for under the tree. Or maybe it will prompt a sincere attempt to feel grateful for the hot pink sweater that Auntie Gertrude knitted for you with her own hands.

Eventually, those glimmers gain an evanescence born of the warm feeling you get from giving something that made someone smile.

That’s when you reach the Christmas Stage.

And before you know it, you’re right back to the Santa Stage — the stage when you realize you were Santa all along.


Just Posted

Three arrested in Aldergrove stabbing

Downtown areas cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, under police watch

Langley uke man marvels amid Royal wedding merriment

Peter and Sandy Luongo were in London Saturday for the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Langley Thunder take first win of the season

The local lacrosse team has kicked off its home opener with a solid victory.

UPDATE: Cloverdale’s Bill Reid Memorial Shelter to celebrate grand opening this Friday

After nearly a decade, the purpose-built shelter will officially open its doors

VIDEO: Langley man critical of SOGI

A local letter writer says SOGI infringes on parents’ rights.

VIDEO: AOK took Langley home and ‘made it amazing’

Volunteers did two weeks of repairs and retrofitting to make the Adam family house safe and livable.

Drivers could pay $8 per day to help cut gridlock under new plan

Mobility pricing report outlines two existing models to cut Metro Vancouver congestion by 20-25%

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Fuel truck crash closes B.C. highway, sends two to hospital

The Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island is expected to be closed until Thursday evening

Most Read