Like all kids from families who celebrate Christmas, I always looked forward to that magic morning with utter excitement. Still, unlike some kids I was able to sleep the night before (making the morning come all the quicker) thanks to a little tradition called Midnight Mass. The daytime masses were trying enough for a little tyke; the late night ones were serious snore-fests.
The Santa stories I grew up with inevitably showed Old Saint Nick's elves industriously assembling wooden toy trains and boats in the days leading up to Christmas. In short, what I saw depicted in no way resembled what I usually found under my own Christmas tree. Not that I am complaining – far from it!
The items on my Christmas list had names like "Kenner," "Mattel" and "Hasbro" printed on them and were on store shelves all year long. Many of them tied in with movies and TV shows I liked. Whereas, the toys the elves created were, well, kind of generic.
When asked to explain this discrepancy, I believe my mother said there were so many children to make toys for that Santa’s elves sometimes came up short, and Santa had to get some pre-made toys from stores to make up the difference. Something to that effect, but a sensible enough explanation, wouldn’t you agree? I certainly bought it.
(Back then I should have asked her to explain why cartoon characters are always six feet tall and mute when you meet them in person. Stop waving and talk to me! Why won’t you talk to me? Alas…)
As I got older I discovered Santa had the inexplicable habit of giving the best toys to kids who were already well-off (i.e. most able to afford them). Benevolent as he was, Father Christmas was apparently also class-conscious. Though of Northern European extraction, Santa was obviously not influenced by any of their egalitarian social views. But I was never bitter; I got some great stuff for Christmas and have no complaints.
Here’s hoping the holiday season and 2007 leave us all with nothing to complain about. Enjoy.
PS: Looks like I got an early Christmas present this morning. My friends Finchy and Filly returned after a long absence.