Christmas Lies

By: Andrew S
December 18, 2010

As of last Friday, I’ve been back home from school. As a result, I’ve been able to see my family again…back in its element.

It’s been fun. Until I’ve come across the lies.

Today, let me tell you a story about how our family has been ensnared by lies as a result of forbidden fruit:

the Apple iPad

You see, by the time I got back, my father was toting around a svelte new iPad.

I was surprised. My dad was always the kind of person, growing up, who would say, “I don’t want to buy Apple. Its products are too expensive and they don’t have compatibility with all my Windows stuff.” But then again, that had changed over time to: “I wouldn’t mind buying something from Apple, just it’s too expensive.” And his protests against the iPhone became protests against AT&T: “The iPhone does look nice…but we can never go back to AT&T.”

A few years back, my brother got a MacBook Pro for Christmas. My mom made sure to never let my dad see the price tag (even after discount), but both of them had to admit that it was pretty cool (especially since yes, it can run Windows and “Windows stuff.”)

When my mom — who has no such reservations against cost — bought an iPod Touch, my dad quickly realized that his Zune 8 would not compare.

So, when my dad got an iPod Touch, I knew it was over. The family would slowly succumb to more and more Apple products. What would be next? a Mac Mini? An AppleTV? One of these inexpensive functional things, surely.

…but an iPad? For my dad?

Even when I was at school, my mom also wanted me to research various tablets with Google Android on them. Most of them were not that good, but she wanted to buy on the cheap. At some point I asked her why she was doing her research.

“Your sister wants a tablet for Christmas.”

Um, pardon my rudeness, mom. A pre-teen girl does not need a tablet!

(Then again, my sister had unlimited texting before I did.)

We researched a product that we thought would be affordable, yet worthwhile, and then ordered for expedited shipping (because we couldn’t get a guarantee that it would get in time by standard mail.) It came in less than a week (of course), and my mother leased some space in her closet to Santa so that he wouldn’t have to make an express delivery on Christmas. (As my mother told us from an early age: Santa doesn’t fly to Texas…it’s too warm. Well, apparently, Santa doesn’t fly to Oklahoma if he doesn’t want to either. He rents closet space from the parents of children in advance and has very modern supply chain agreements with UPS and FedEx.)

…my sister doesn’t know she’s going to get a tablet. We told her to get silly ideas out of her head and think of different things to ask for from Santa…

She’s been sensitive on the issue ever sense.

So how was I to know how she would react to finding out that my dad had an iPad?

I couldn’t have anticipated the way it turned out. Because I thought my father, as an adult, had bought the iPad for himself. Because adults can do that.

Wrong.

One day, my sister saw my dad using his iPad. She didn’t have anything to say to him, but later, when my mom got back from work, she confronted her:

“Why does dad get to have his iPad before Christmas?!”

My mom confided to me later that she thought the jig was up, that the house of lies regarding Christmas itself was about to topple.

But that was not to be. My mom measuredly replied, “…don’t you know that daddy has to work on Christmas day? And isn’t that just so sad?”

My sister: “Yeah. I can see why Santa would let him have his present early then.”

Bullet dodged.

On the one hand, this save seems innovative and creative. It brings a smile to my face.

On the other hand, I wonder: when will the Christmas Lies end?

Is this the beginning of all folk doctrine? Will my sister “grow up” believing that Christmas rules can be so violated by a weekend work schedule as I “grew up” knowing that duh, Santa just doesn’t go to Texas; it’s too hot? Why couldn’t he have opened on Christmas Eve then?? What are some idiosyncratic ideas you or your family has about the holiday season (or about anything else) whose origin you can remember?

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15 Responses to Christmas Lies

  1. Course Correction on December 18, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    What would family life and Christmas be without a little dishonesty?

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  2. Andrew S on December 18, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    It certainly would be a lot blander.

    Sometimes, it’s painful. My sister is a terrible liar, for example, and she should stop trying, because she’s REALLY bad at it.

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  3. alice on December 18, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    It is hard for me to grasp that some people don’t know the difference between a lie that violates trust and engaging in and protecting myth that adds pleasure and richness to life and strengthens family traditions and bonds.

    Maybe the whole entry is tongue in cheek and I’m missing it but I’m so beyond tired of the people who need to parse and attack the concept of Santa. The mere fact that generations can look around them and see that logic fails but choose to believe anyway speaks to the value of Santa in our lives.

    Relax and enjoy it.

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  4. Andrew S on December 18, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    lol, alice.

    People don’t say that logic fails, but then choose to believe (in Santa). They recognize Santa doesn’t exist, but choose to perpetuate the falsehood because it’s fun. That’s the value of Santa in our lives. (The irony of your comment is that the Christmas lies in the post are not Santa [the foundation] at all. But the things people have made up on the spot to perpetuate Santa [the peripheral, ad hoc folklore].)

    But yeah, I completely agree with your admonition and offer it to you as well: relax and enjoy it.

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  5. alice on December 18, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Fair enough to turn it back on me!

    I want to relax and enjoy it as I have for 5 decades. But the last decade has been full of the Fox-brand War on Christmas® that gets tromped out once a year for ratings that Christmas has become a joyless drudgery in this country.

    So, I’ll work harder at seeing past the humbuggery and try to relax as advised.

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  6. Andrew S on December 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    FWIW, I think the “War on Christmas” is a totally different matter. It’s more a matter of the religious impact of the holiday vs. the secular/consumerist impact in a multicultural society.

    I agree that that stinks, so I pretty much zone out whenever I hear “war” and “Christmas” in the same sentence.

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  7. Latter-day Guy on December 18, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Alice, perhaps “humbugging” would be a better alternative to “humbuggery” given that — in general — “bugging” might be less offensive than “buggery.” Just sayin’.

    As far as the lies go, in my family we were always told that Santa didn’t wrap the presents; Mom and Dad did. Which very neatly explained why they were covered in the same kinds of paper as family presents and why the tags were written in Mom’s handwriting.

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  8. Andrew S on December 18, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    That is SO clever.

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  9. geoffsn on December 18, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    My dad was always the kind of person, growing up, who would say, “I don’t want to buy Apple. Its products are too expensive and they don’t have compatibility with all my Windows stuff.” But then again, that had changed over time to: “I wouldn’t mind buying something from Apple, just it’s too expensive.” And his protests against the iPhone became protests against AT&T: “The iPhone does look nice…but we can never go back to AT&T.”

    Um, pardon my rudeness, mom. A pre-teen girl does not need a tablet!

    (Then again, my sister had unlimited texting before I did.)

    You have no idea how much I can relate. It was like you were telling the story of my family.

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  10. alice on December 18, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Latter Day Guy-

    Did you have any confusion about my meaning? I can’t even imagine why you felt you needed to insert that.

    Honi soit qui mal y pense.

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  11. jks on December 19, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    Bugger and buggery are rude/swear words in Britain. Perhaps that is what LDS guy meant when he felt it was offensive and you probably would want to choose a different word next time.

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  12. alice on December 20, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    You might both look up the definition of humbuggery which appears in the English dictionary not in conjunction with any swear words but as a derivation of humbug.

    Then go look up honi soit qui mal y pense which, as it turns out, also has British association. It’s the motto of the Order of the Garter and applies, quite meaningfully, to inserting a vile interpretation in the context in which it was neither implied nor obvious.

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  13. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on December 20, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    My parents never really sold the Santa Claus story to me because half the Santas in Nashville in the 70′s were black and the other half were white. They figured i’d figure out it wasn’t just one guy.

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  14. Latter-day Guy on December 20, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    “It is hard for me to grasp…

    Maybe … I’m missing it…

    I can’t even imagine why…”

    This seems to be something of a trend in your comments on this post, Alice.

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  15. Doug on December 24, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    We live in a world where being completely candid isn’t always wise…

    The Late, Great SWK once proposed that when the Apostle Peter was told by the Lord (Matt 26:33,34) that he would deny Him thrice, that rather than a prediction (and a dignified way of “calling BS” on Peter’s profession of loyalty), it was instruction. In effect, SWK opined that Jesus actually instructed Peter to lie. Now, I don’t agree with the gravelly-voiced one from the Gila Valley, but he did have a good point.
    It’s “true” that there isn’t a portly, jolly old elf booking around in a sleigh all over the world, dropping off presents. And yet, numerous times we see that “Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus”.
    We should just lighten up and enjoy it.

    Merry (#$%@!) Chrstimas, Dennis Leary style.

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