🎅

Santa Claus is a voyeur-forward kink

and why i won’t let my daughter sit on his lap

Disclaimer: time doesn’t exist in my writings. I don’t know how people have the courage + confidence to publish real time. Even in my personal journals that don’t see the light of the internet, I rarely include dates. This all might have actually happened this week, it might have happened years ago. I publish when I feel brave enough to. Some things are too scary, real-time. I also try not to use names, mainly to confuse everyone.

“He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake.”

Nothing about that line is comforting. It gets worse as you keep singing.

I love rituals and traditions. I find myself forever pushing for ways – both big and small – to keep them going. Some of my biggest heartbreaks have been, at their root, the loss of a tradition I’d created and looked forward to instead of the loss of the relationship at hand.

To this end, the older I get the more I absolutely abhor honoring thoughtless traditions. Templates that have long been under-thought yet still upheld. The garter toss at a wedding. Gender reveals. Posting a social media announcement for a birthday out of ritualistic obligation. And, sitting on Santa’s lap and asking for presents.

I really don’t see an adorable tradition here. I see a bunch of kids and adults waiting in an unnecessarily long line being overcharged for a dingy digital photo by a bored worker by some nameless company who rented out the space in some shitty mall, for a chance to spend 2 minutes putting all trust and sense aside to be forced in sitting on a complete stranger’s lap with this expectation that some random old man with a beard can judge your character (”he knows if you’ve been bad or good”). And, in exchange for living up to this old white guy’s expectations (”so be good for goodness sake”) you might get some gifts you really covet (that actually, if you even do get them, was a result of someone’s thoughtfulness that they’ll get zero credit for).

In this setup, Santa is some all-knowing Godlike overlord that’s always old and white (not loving this pedestal we are setting up here) who gets to straight up judge your entire character and gaslight you in into thinking you should act a certain way in order to deserve material gifts based on a rubric you were never really were explained or understood. And worse, you are categorized as either “bad or good”. You fall into this binary decision that casts your entire being, and your reward is a surprise under the tree… that isn’t even really a surprise anymore, at this rate.

And let’s talk about the lap part.

No, my daughter does not need to be taught that in order to get some materialistic good that she deems is of value and desires, that she needs to sit on the lap of a man she does not know, and please him / convince him / show him that she is deserving of said thing. Hard pass here.

I’d like her to know that she can save up her own money and get whatever present she wants, and also, whenever. The holidays don’t deem you worthy of treating yourself to something you’d like to own. It’s some arbitrary date – and even if she chose to be religious, presents have no real role when it comes to the “real meaning of Christmas”, whatever that means. She doesn’t have to play this game with men, let alone stranger men. She can ask me, or her dad, and we can talk about it. She can make a wish list – those are nice to have, and good to not hang your every last hope on, too. We can have a conversation about whether all parties are comfortable with giving and receiving gifts, actually. Not everyone is. It’s presumptuous to think every wants them, much like it is presumption to think everyone loves giving them.

I’d like to uncouple the associations of gifts with goodness. First of all, there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” kids. No one ought to really determine that. And certainly not by the act of receiving a gift. Imagine judging your entire worth by if you get a present under your tree, mysteriously. if my child doesn’t question the logistics of how that got there and why, I’ll be sad. And only because I admire curiosity and questioning assumptions, which I project onto the efficacy of my teachings for Zizi. If I’m going to brainwash my kid, as we all inherently do as parents anyway, I’d like for it to be towards a path of inquiry + wonder. Not shame induced “good” behavior, whatever that means. Sometimes listening to your parents is not good. I know that it’s knee-jerk to associate “listening to me” as “good”. But that’s dangerous territory of coercion, dependent thinking, external validation. I’m obviously speaking in extremes. But I’ll point out my own flaw here: sometimes being curious is also not good. I get that I am an imperfect being teaching my imperfect kid how I think living works.

I’m not saying I’m right. But I am saying that having kids guilted into acting how you want them to coerce into based on some fictional overlord character that can “see them when they’re sleeping, and know when they’re awake”) is fucked up and you can count me out.

I do love the holidays, though. Santa doesn’t ruin anything for me, and I don’t plan on ruining Santa for my kid. I love seeing lights on houses, the capitalistic frenzy, people taking time off work, and the rituals of songs we associate with this time. And even if there is an interest in meeting this Santa character, I won’t say no. Instead, I’ll ask questions.

“Do you want to sit on his lap? It’s up to you.”

🎅