Posted in Family

Santa Can be a Real Jerk Sometimes

452535925Every year as I dug through the gifts and candy in the red felt sock that hung from my bedroom doorknob, I hoped against hope that the last gift I hauled out of that thing was not going to be an orange. I could see the orb-shaped something filling out the toe of the sock. Pulling out the little cellophane-wrapped sweets that had dropped to the bottom, my nails must have scraped the bumpy texture of the peel. The fresh citrusy smell must have wafted past my nostrils. But I held out hope that it was a ball, or a pair of really pretty mittens, or anything . . . but an orange. Yet, every year it was an orange. Either Santa had a messed-up sense of humor, or he was just a big dick dressed in red.

Santa left my other gifts unwrapped under the tree. That worked, because my next oldest sibling was ten years older than me, and by that time, was most likely helping to perpetuate the storyline. So any unwrapped gifts under the tree were From: Santa; To: me.

Like any kid, sometimes Santa brought exactly what I wanted, and some years he hadn’t a clue. The year I got my pixie haircut, he brought me a long, blonde wig. It was exactly what I wanted, and I tossed my head like the girls in the Prell commercials swinging it sensuously in slow motion.

49929aThe year he brought me a fire engine pedal-car, he lost some of his magic status. The box featured pictures of all the models, and my parents asked me which one I wanted to be in the box. I imagined it was a magical box that would change whatever was inside to be exactly the model you wished for. I wished hard and pointed to the Tee Bird, but what they pulled out of the box was a fire engine, complete with a bell on the front for announcing emergencies. The toy was my first encounter with independence because back then little kids just pedaled around blocks unchaperoned for hours at a time.
320856568024So that was cool, but I knew somewhere there was a little kid who pointed at the fire engine and got the blue Tee Bird. That was my second clue that Santa wasn’t all he was cracked up to be.

Eventually I learned the harsh truth that my parents were just filling in while Santa sat at the North Pole consuming dubious amounts of cookies and Amaretto. I couldn’t believe it was them putting that damned orange in the bottom of my sock all along. And while it might have been forgivable for Santa to make that mistake — after all, he had millions of socks to fill — I could not say the same for my parents. They had only one job that night, to place a few unwrapped gifts around the tree and fill my sock with toys and candy, saving the obvious best gift for the bottom of the sock.

I don’t mean to say that I harbored ill feelings over the faux pas of my parents. Christmas was and is still something I hold dear and find magical. I wish joy and peace to all in the new year, and in the grand scheme of things, I think I’ve turned out alright.

But for the life of me, every time I see a big, round, juicy orange at this time of year, I remember the disappointment of finding one in the toe of my sock on Christmas morn.

And I am reminded of what a sick jerk Santa really can be.

Peace . . .


Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it.

5 thoughts on “Santa Can be a Real Jerk Sometimes

  1. I’m happy to see we weren’t the only kids who had oranges in the toes of our socks! I think either we were supposed to think they were an exotic treat or my parents were putting them in so they didn’t have to give us so much candy. I think I pretty much ignored It and put it in the fridge.

    1. Annette, check out the reply from insearchofitall. Apparently, it is a token of good luck! I guess it’s true — we learn something new every day! Much luck and oranges to you in the new year! 🙂

  2. It’s good luck to get an orange in your shoe or stocking in Germany. We always got them too and were grateful for the fruit which we got so little of any other time. I think that’s how the orange in the stocking started. But I’m with you now. I can get oranges anytime, give me cookies and candy and something fun. Hope your Christmas was better this year and Santa had a good year. Have a peace filled New Year too.

    1. Whaaaat??? Oh my goodness you’ve turned my whole attitude around! My grandparents on my father’s side came from Germany. No one ever told me this good-luck thing. It may, indeed, have been the obvious best gift saved for last. Thank you for the enlightenment!

      1. Glad to oblige, Jean. When St. Nicholas first started bringing the poor children gifts, citrus was as rare as gold. Growing up, fresh fruit of any kind was rare. It’s all perspective. Now if you got coal in your shoe, don’t expect anything else. My grandparents heated with coal so it was plentiful. I was an extremely well behaved child as a result. 🙂 Happy New Year, Jean.

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