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Everything is Santa Claus

Hear me out.

When you're a kid your parents try to teach you about wonder, as if you needed any help with that. Don't blame them. Somebody convinced them along the way that the tradition of compliance was healthy and that you needed to be taught how to enjoy life. They have been in the salt mines of adulthood and forgot what it was like. Some will remember they've got it backward and start living in the present by hanging out with their kids, but most of us don't get there. Our folks mean well when they start lying to us. Forgive.

Santa Claus is the perfect metaphor and reference point for the myth of authority, and rest assured that is is a myth. When you're young enough to take your parents at their word, you learn about this magical man who lives in a freezing wasteland, ready to reward you with your heart's desire if you will simply believe and be good, for goodness sake.

Years on, you learn how it really works. You find out Santa is bait on a hook, offered to parents as a way of placating bored children by indoctrinating them into consumerism. You find out that reindeer only "fly" when they eat wild mushrooms, and the elves are Chinese kids working in factory hives with suicide prevention nets. If you didn't get what you wanted, it probably had more to do with the private economic realities your parents tried to shield you from than any unworthiness on your part. One day you come to understand that all the Christmas miracles were sacrifices your parents made to make you happy. This is beautiful, if tragic.

Hopefully none of the holiday rituals convinced you that material objects are equivalent to love and security, or that your worth depends on possessing the trinket of the year, though that is of course the point behind all the festivities. Again, it's not your parents' fault. They took the bait, but they did it out of love. They bought The Hustle, and let's be fair, it's very convincing. They meant well but they unintentionally set you up to fall for it. Authority is just another fairy tale for grown ups. Like with many fairy tales, there's a monster.