EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Exposing the Jolly Red Lie

By Elizabeth Davis

A week before Christmas, you drive your precious ten-year old daughter, Betty, to the shopping mall to pose for her annual pic with Santa Claus. Betty's usual "Santa Rocks" smile has been replaced by a reluctant grin. Minutes after leaving Santa's Winter Wonderland in the food court, Betty stares at you with burgeoning skepticism. A barrage of questions soon follow. If we give Santa soy milk because he's lactose intolerant, then how can he drink whole milk at Brian's house? Is it a mere coincidence that you and Santa wrap gifts using the same holiday wrapping paper? If Santa's elves make toys in Santa's work-shop, why does my Barbie doll say 'Made in Taiwan?' Is that an Asian word for 'North Pole?' As Betty's mother, you must decide whether or not to debunk the Santa Claus myth once and for all.

According to a gaggle of anonymous child psychologists, believing in Santa Claus and his nonsensical jingle bell world, also known as the Jolly Red Lie, is emotionally and socially damaging to youngsters around the globe. A sustained belief in Santa Claus hinders a child from maintaining a firm grasp on reality.

Lost in their worlds of egg nog wishes and gingerbread dreams, the children of the Jolly Red Lie are ill-equipped to handle life's harsh realities. These sterile men of science maintain that subscribing to absurd ideals, such as "good will towards men," disables kids from recognizing, understanding, and coping with our greedy society. Eventually, these innocents will mature into adults who are ostracized by their peers for being hokey and lame.

Therefore, disproving the existence of Santa Claus is the only way that a mother can ensure her offspring's long-term well-being. The aforementioned psychologists recommend that the following facts be presented to your skeptical child:

1. In order for Santa to pull off his special brand of Christmas Eve magic, he'd have to have unlimited financial resources. Santa would need to buy the raw materials needed to make dolls, bicycles, video games, and a million other toy parts so he could fulfill each child's Christmas wish list. Additional costs, such as elf labor, property taxes on the North Pole workshop, reindeer food, wrapping paper, boxes, gift bags, bows, and sleigh maintenance would cost Santa a fortune. Only the richest man on the planet could become Santa Claus. And, according to Forbes magazine, that distinction belongs to Bill Gates.

2. Santa doesn't even know you. Why would he deliver Christmas presents to someone he doesn't even know exists? Reason with your child that only people who love each other exchange gifts. It's impossible to love someone who you've never physically encountered. Therefore, the corpulent Claus couldn't ave been leaving presents for unfamiliar children all over the world for centuries. You also might want to locate charge bills from Christmases past. Explain to our child that you've always been the sole purchaser of all Christmas gifts because you, and only you, love him or her.

3. Finally, encourage your son or daughter to forego sleeping on Christmas Eve so that he or she can lie awake underneath the Christmas tree waiting for Santa to arrive. The Jolly Red Lie will begin to unravel as soon as your child witnesses you arranging presents around the holiday spruce, while consuming the treats left for Santa. By sunrise, the once suspicious youngster will become convinced that the "no-show" Santa is a fake.

Exposing the Jolly Red Lie might seem harsh and unnecessarily cruel. However, it would be unforgivable for mothers to continue deluding their children into believing that we exist in a pleasant and kind world. Remain steadfast in your resolve to liberate your little one from the Jolly Red Lie because someday he or she will thank you. Twenty years from now, you'll be visiting the shopping mall on a July afternoon with your grown-up neurosurgeon daughter, Betty. Both of you notice a woman wearing a dancing snowman cardigan and candy cane earrings. She sits alone in the food court singing Christmas carols and knitting booties for Santa's elves. Onlookers point and snicker at the woman, who's obviously still affected by the Jolly Red Lie. Relieved to have escaped that same fate, Betty smiles at you with profound gratitude. Tears slide down your cheek as you realize that the best you ever could've done for your "pride and joy" was to remove Santa Claus from her life.

© 2004 Elizabeth Davis


The Waiter Mystique



Elizabeth Davis is a native New Yorker living and writing in Los Angeles. When Davis isn't perfecting her writing craft, she can be seen eating five pound blocks of dark chocolate and campaigning to reverse the stringent California jaywalking laws.