December 17, 2011
My world is destabilized. Everything I thought I knew about Christmas and the human body is now cast in doubt.
It's all my third grader's fault.
"So what's up with Santa?" she asked me this morning in the middle of the holiday aisle at Target.
"What do you mean?" I replied, with one hand stuck deep inside a dollar bin.
She pointed to a sign that read "Stocking Stuffers."
" If Santa is real," she asked, "Why would stores sell things for stockings? And why are so many moms here buying them?"
I glanced around and made eye contact with at least 8 other women who were scooping magnets and notepads and stickers and other meaningless junk into their shopping carts.
I explained, to the best of my ability, that corporate America likes alliteration as much as I do. "Stocking Stuffer is just a fancy way of saying 'present,'" I told her.
She didn't look convinced.
"My friends at school told me that Santa isn't real," she said casually.
"No!" I cried. "It can't be!"
"That's what they told me," she continued.
I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. "What else did they tell you?"
"That hair is going to start growing under my arms when I'm a teenager."
I practically fainted in horror. "Why would someone say something so horrible?" I gasped.
My daughter looked at my intently. "So is it true?" she asked.
I put my hand on her shoulder. "About the underarm hair--yes," I confessed. "As for Santa, the rule is if you don't believe, you don't receive."
My daughter nodded solemnly. "I believe," she confessed. "A lot."