I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I don't remember when I did believe either. I guess I have always been cynical from birth. It seemed too good to be true to me, for a guy I didn't know to always have just the right gift - the one thing I was supposed to want - when the people around me never seemed to know exactly what that was.
Yet, I remember going every year for "the PHOTO" sitting on his lap, and being asked what I wanted for Christmas. Even then, it didn't seem that simple. You had to wear just the right outfit - I remember asking if you wore the wrong thing did it effect your gift? You had to smile at an elf. I never liked the elves. And I am old enough to have come from the age where the outfit usually had crinlin underneath it. I hated them.
I also remember that I never got anything I told Santa I wanted. I had one thing on my list every year and it never happened. This made me doubt the big guy. I always asked for a horse. At some point, I figured he didn't listen and everyone just got the most popular toy.
So, with cynical heart in hand I flew into adulthood without Santa. So I started collecting them. Not just any - they had to be special to me. I think part of it was to make up for not believing and part was that if I had enough maybe I would capture some of that naive fun I had missed as a child.
And now, this year adding to all of the serious facts of life the Mayan's stopped the calender. How long ago did we know this? I mean really, why drop this on us now? Seems like it should have been something we heard about while we were growing up and being afraid of the USSR dropping bombs on us or aliens from other planets coming and "probing" us and taking us away on their flying saucers.
So now, Santa seems even further away than ever. Just a little blip of red in a moon shot sky.
This is the year that I think I will give up on Santa. No special reason, just seems that maybe the cynical child has come full circle. They (whoever they are) say that your first instinct is usually right. So I am going with the theory that like so many other irrational myths he is just a puff of smoke - elusive and fleeting during those squinty bright days of childhood.
But, if a horse appears on Christmas which is conveniently after the end of the world on the winter solstice on December 21 when the Mayan calender ends - I may have to re-think the whole thing. And given that there is this underlying expectation in the air of a zombie apocalypse happening at any moment - well - there just doesn't seem to be room for Santa anymore.