Breaking and Entering

You may find it silly, but then again, you’re an adult and have probably long forgotten all of the Christmas worries that kept you on the edge of your seat from Thanksgiving until Christmas morning. At that point, we were all so wrapped up in our new train sets and bikes that the million questions that kept us up at night were long forgotten. But, I had fears - worries - about Christmas traditions and the man who was to bring me gifts.

My biggest fear, of course, was how jolly old St. Nick was going to get the hundred things I had put on my wish list into my house Christmas morning. However, I would wake and underneath my Christmas tree overflowed with gifts and I no longer cared how they arrived. They were there and that’s all that mattered. I have a short attention span that’s easily distracted.

However, prior to that I was chewing my nails. I mean, I had heard the songs. “Down the chimney with lots of toys,” Gene Autry sang. “Down through the chimney with Good St, Nick.” I had seen the Christmas specials, as well. Television doesn’t lie! Santa comes down a chimney. Even the Grinch trying to steal Christmas from all the cute little Whos shoved his loot back up a stack of sooty bricks. That, for me, was a problem. We lived in Florida. We didn’t have a chimney. I mean, who needs a fireplace in the Sunshine State? We had to move, and quick

I pleaded my case to my parents, but they were unwilling to see the logic of my six-year old mind. Santa brings toys down a chimney. If we didn’t have a chimney, then I would receive no toys. An entire year of good behavior would be wasted!

With moving into another home out of the question, I tried my next tactic. “At least, leave the front door open or even the back door. I’ll put a sign in the yard letting Santa know the way inside.”

They continued their stubborn streak. “It’s not safe to leave a door unlocked, Robbie. What if someone else came in? He could steal all of your toys before you even had a chance to break them.” How can they steal them if Santa can’t get into the house to leave them in the first place? They weren’t sympathetic to my plight. Of course, they weren’t. They were old and already off of Santa’s list. They were jealous. That’s what it was.

“He’ll get in, Robbie. Santa’s magic.” My mom tried to soothe my fears. However, she said “magic” and I heard “breaking and entering.” Santa is really a backwards thief. Instead of stealing your treasures, he leaves you new and shiny ones. He has to carry a set of lock picks with him in order to work the deadbolt my father dutifully shoves into place every night before going to bed.

Now, I was really scared. I know Santa can get in because he devours my milk and cookies. If such a giving man as Santa Claus could get inside my house, what was really keeping the bad guys out? Christmas was turning into Halloween as I now saw Boogey Men everywhere trying to steal my Hot Wheels.

My second fear was how this old man knew whether I was naughty or nice. “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Santa is a stalker!

Every night I made sure my blinds were down and the curtains closed. I searched my bedroom for peepholes and hidden cameras. I changed clothes underneath my blankets, not wanting to be caught in my skivvies. Aren’t there laws about such things? Isn’t this entrapment? Anytime in history someone has separated people into lists, it has not turned out well. Wars have been started over such things. Yet, we allow some bearded man who runs around with tiny elves and lives all alone to do it because he leaves us a few presents once a year. No wonder the government thinks it can get away with Big Brother tactics. We’ve been conditioned to accept it since we were tots!

Furthermore, can we really trust a man with so many aliases who delights in giving things to tiny, naïve children? I’ve always known him as Santa Claus, but later in life I discovered he had many names. Father Christmas. St. Nicholas. Sinterklaas. In Russia, he is known as Grandfather Frost and is joined by his granddaughter, Snequrochka. In Finland, he goes by Joulupukki and Pere Noel in France. How many passports does this man have? Is he an international spy? Double agent?

“Robbie, you think too much. Just enjoy the magic of Christmas.” Yet, I would worry - all the way up until Christmas morning. Then, my fears were turned into books and toys and later they were turned into stories and essays. It really is a magical, mysterious time of year. But I wouldn’t use Santa’s tactics if I were you. There really are laws against such things.

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