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A case of “CLAUSE--trophobia”: Is Santa too scary for Christmas?

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Reel Mama: A case of “CLAUSE--trophobia”: Is Santa too scary for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A case of “CLAUSE--trophobia”: Is Santa too scary for Christmas?

Who doesn’t love Santa? Toddlers everywhere, including my two-year-old daughter Leilani. Her verdict on Santa? He’s “too scary for Christmas.”  When Leilani first found out about Christmas she asked, “Is it Christmas yet?” She showed interest in “Santa closet,” as she first called him, and said “Christmas” with a hint of pride and excitement in her voice upon seeing the garden gnomes who slightly resemble Santa standing in our front yard. And yet, the sight of the jolly red elf in person sends her running for mommy’s arms screaming in terror. The very mention of Santa recently prompted her to say, “Where is he? Is he in the house?!”

My daughter has a fear of giant costumed figures. I get that. A run-in with a man-sized Clifford the Big Red Dog earlier this year started things off on the wrong foot. He was big and he was red, and maybe he somehow made her think of the disastrous attempt at a photo with Santa last year. Clifford was there to promote literacy and PBS; instead he promoted general chaos in the form of bawling toddlers shrieking in horror. My daughter held onto me with such an iron grip that I didn’t get circulation back in my neck for a week.
Why do we put our children through this? Seen from the outside, I can understand how the Santa tradition would look very strange indeed. I was recently told of a friend’s daughter who is now in the Peace Corps in Africa, and she was trying to explain the tradition of Santa to one of the village officials. He just didn’t get it. We in America put our children to bed at night so that a morbidly obese stranger dressed in red and white fur can squeeze himself down our chimneys, then leave noisy plastic toys like Rock ‘n Roll Elmo that the toy-making elves have apparently outsourced to China. He eats cookies and milk left out by all the strangers he’s delivering gifts to. Only they aren’t strangers, because the children will have written him letters beforehand: pleas scrawled in crayon and Marks-a-lot for the toys they so desperately need, and often a persuasive essay on how good they’ve been all year.
The African village official seemed kind of outraged: after all, if Santa was so wonderful, why didn’t he bring presents to the children in his village? It’s a fair question. Those same children hadn’t even heard of Santa. And how can one explain a phenomenon like Santa or Black Friday to a man who lives in a village that doesn’t even have a toilet?
Nevertheless, I’ll keep trying to help my daughter overcome her “Clause”-trophobia so that she can discover the real joys of Santa. I’m still a believer myself at heart, even though dear old Santa makes himself a little too scarce in some parts of the world.
How did we solve the problem of a picture with Santa? Fortunately Santa was able to sneak up behind us as we posed. I didn’t even know he was there for the picture taken below, and thankfully, neither did my daughter.


At December 24, 2011 at 5:15 AM , Blogger Jamie said...

I didn't bring my 1 year old to see Santa (much to my husband's chagrin) because I thought she'd be afraid of him. I could see why!

I'm your newest follower from Melissa's Sat Laughs hop. Please feel free to come by my blog and if you like, follow back. :o)

For Love of Cupcakes

At December 24, 2011 at 7:45 PM , Blogger LOVE MELISSA:) said...

I love that Santa sneaked up! What an adorable family! We had a horrendous experience with Santa and my 9 month old. Maybe next year! I hope you have a Merry Christmas! I am now following via GFC:)

At December 28, 2011 at 11:52 PM , Blogger Lauren Ivy Chiong said...

Thanks for the comments, Jamie and Melissa, and welcome! It sounds like we've all experienced a little of the Santa "too scary for Christmas" syndrome. I am wondering at what age kids begin warming up to Santa? I get the strong sense that Leilani WANTS so much to like Santa, and yet, she just can't. "Santa stranger danger" seems to be the mentality among those 2 and under.

Happy New Year, ladies!


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