Saving Santa

Hello my dears!

A few years ago, I was driving through our quaint little town, and when I passed our courthouse, I saw what will always be one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever witnessed.

Our town Santa was standing there, holding a big sign that said ‘GOD HATES F@GS! KEEP THE QUEERS OUT OF BOY SCOUTS! SAVE OUR CHILDREN!’

I don’t recall ever being so feels-punched so hard. I mean, it was fucking Santa standing there spreading hate. He had the full white beard and everything. I mean damn. I couldn’t process it. I drove by, in actual, literal tears thinking about any little kid who might see him standing there, a little kid who knew in their heart who they were, but now would think Santa freaking Claus hated them for being that person. It’s been years, but the anger and hurt I felt at that moment hasn’t diminished even slightly.

Here’s the thing; this isn’t just the Santa that pops up at Christmas to show up at the library for kids to come take pictures with. Our local Santa is kind of a legend.

Every trash day, Santa drives through town, in a red truck, no less, and scours the curbs for cast away toys that he will take and fix up to hand out to less-fortunate children.

I mean…dude. Saint Nick, amirite?

And he’s there every week! Our trash pick-up day is Tuesday, and every damn week, the kids and I stand at the bus stop and watch that red truck go by. When the kids have toys they’ve outgrown or want to donate, we will leave them by the curb just to see if we can catch Santa picking them up. For years it was a fun thing for me to see, watching this nice man doing such a wonderful thing for kids. Like, actual life goals, you know?

But after seeing Santa on the square with that sign? I couldn’t reconcile it all. How could someone who loved that much hate so hard?

Too many feelings. It absolutely broke my heart.

It actually got to the point where I was conflicted about leaving toys for Santa to pick up. I wondered would he not give toys to kids he thought might be gay, you know? Would he refuse to help gay families? What other prejudiced limitations might Santa have?

THIS WAS ALL VERY CONFUSINGĀ AND HURTFUL, OKAY?

I didn’t want to hurt other kids by withholding donations, but I didn’t want to support a big ol’ bearded bigot. Jeez.

Okay, cut to yesterday.

We are the folks that put our Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. It’s our thing. We put the tree up, watch Elf, have a family dinner, it’s a good time. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

Our halls were decked, the kids became fully infested with holiday spirit, and we’ve had Elf on a loop since Black Friday. Seriously, I’ve seen it at least 782 times (est.) since that day and I’m not even kind of tired of it yet. Yay, Christmas!

Tuesday morning, we were standing at the bus stop, and my daughter was beside me, chatting away about her upcoming day when she goes silent and stares down the road. Her eyes go big and she whispers, “Mom…I see the red truck. It’s SANTA.”

Here’s the thing, we don’t “do” Santa at our house. We’ve never told the kids one way or another that there is or isn’t a Santa. We let them frolic through the world, hear and see what they hear and see, and they come to us with questions. We never, ever lie when they ask us things. We tend to follow the, “Well, what do you think?” rule when the kids ask if Santa is real. Our daughter says she likes to believe everything is real because magic is more fun. I tell her I agree and that I maintain a Time Lord in a blue box is totes coming for me one day.

Anyway, so, there comes Santa’s red truck down our street, just as it does every Tuesday. Now, maybe it’s the concentration of Buddy the Elf, or the Christmas hype, or whatever, but for some reason, this morning, we all stop and pay close attention.

Every week, just the same, my heart is weighed down knowing this wonderful Santa is also a carrier of ragey hate. It hurts me.

Santa gets closer and dude. He’s like, Santa’d up. Natural, grew it himself white beard. He’s got on suspenders that I swear, if you met the real life, actual Santa, he would be wearing these suspenders. He’s wearing a long sleeved red shirt that I’m telling you, real Santa would be sporting. And he’s got a Santa hat on. But not like, a cheapy bought at Walmart Santa hat. This thing looked…I don’t even know…made by elves or some shit. I don’t even know how to explain it.

My daughter starts jumping up and down shrieking, “It’s Santa! Hi, Santa!” and waving. It’s so super cute.

Santa sticks his arm out of his truck, gives her a perfect Santa wave, then, and I swear to everything, he pulls his arm back in, gently taps his finger to his nose, and winks at her.

My daughter straight up lost her shit.

Santa drives away, my daughter is screaming and flailing and I’m standing there feeling oddly fluttery and breathless. The bus appeared and Santa and his truck were gone.

Guys. I’m thirty-three. I’m an adult. (Mostly.) I know what reality is. I write fiction, I can tell the difference. But I’m telling you, in that moment? If you’d asked me to stake money one way or another? I probably would have gone on the record defending the existence of Santa Claus. I still might.

I’m still all tingly.

Man, the magic of kids.

So, I’m totally moved by this moment, and it’s legitimately one of the best things I’ve ever witnessed in my life. That kind of happiness goes a long dang way, you know?

But it was tainted. And I was sharing that bitter taste with my mom and some other folks because come on, Santa!? Why must you hurt me, so?

AND GUESS FREAKING WHAT GUYS.

IT WASN’T SANTA.

IT WAS NOT HIM ON THE TOWN SQUARE.

IT WAS A DIFFERENT SANTA BEING HATEFUL.

NOT THE REAL SANTA.

BECAUSE YEAH THIS GUY IS MY REAL SANTA NOW.

There is apparently another, less Santa-ly dude in our town who beards the beard, but doesn’t HO the HO if you know what I mean.

BUT REALLY.

For the last few years, I have been heartbroken over the actions over faux-Santa. That jerk isn’t fit to grow the beard. While this news doesn’t at all diminish how horrible anti-Santa’s actions were, and I still maintain that man should be ashamed of himself for well, that, I can’t tell you how relieved and happy I am that real Santa is the actual paragon of goodness I so needed him to be.

A man who spends his days driving around in a red truck, looking like Santa 365 days a year, picking up used toys from the curb, taking them home to fix up and give to needy kids. Life goals, guys. Wow.

Oh, Santa. The world needs more people like you. My heart is so very happy.

This week I am going to go through and make sure we have an extra big box of toys to set out next week. And maybe some milk and cookies. And possibly hug him.

Santa.

I hope you all are having the most magical of weeks!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and SANTA!!!!!!

12 Comments

  1. Carolyn Charron |

    Awww! Seriously made me tear up this morning. *sniffle*

    Santa is AWESOME! And Fizzy is even more awesome to share this with us.

  2. Are you feeling better? This post sounds exactly like you, sappy and snarky and proud and sad all in a really good way.

    Our house is decked to the nines already, too. Merry Christmas!

  3. Thank you. Long live Santa. Suck it, un-Santa, hater dude!

    Now I have to go find some tissues.

  4. Awe!!!! Reading this post made me feel all snuggled up holding a mug of hot cocoa with EXTRA marshmallows floating on top. Thanks for sharing this post, Summer!

    PS- Hope faux-Santa hung up his suit and his ugly sign was burned long ago in some fireplace.

    • :D!!

      And if I ever see faux-Santa again, I’m giving him what for. It was such a strange feeling thinking he was doing such wonderful things as well as such hateful ones.

      Now I know that guy is just a jerk and Santa is awesome and YAY BALANCE.

  5. Steven Vance(crafter) |

    Yes, dammit, I cried when I read this. I also laughed and had gut-punch feels. Thank you for that beautiful story.

    Now, edit it for the newspaper and submit it. Send it to Ellen Degeneres.

    Get it out there.

  6. THANK HEAVENS the amazing Santa isn’t the bigot Santa! I was feeling all hopeless and yucky and THEN THEN THEN you give us the surprise ending!!! I am a firm believer in magic and in its ability to make us feel childlike and hopeful and non-jaded again. Please take a photo of good Santa.

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