I grew up in a nice, quiet suburb of Chicago called Wood Dale, Illinois. I went to a nice, quiet Catholic school called Holy Ghost Catholic School. I had the same 20 kids in my classes for the short time that I attended Holy Ghost. In the Fall of 1997, my family made a company move from Illinois to Phoenix, Arizona.
My sister and I were going to be transitioning from a private Catholic School to a Public School…so my mother had to break some news to us. She sat us down and told us, “Ok, girls. There is no Santa Claus. Your father and I are Santa Claus. We’re also the Easter Bunny, and we’re also the Tooth Fairy.” (To this day, she will tell you that she did this because she didn’t want ‘those rat bastards to ruin it for us.’) As a bowl-cut laden 8 year-old…this was a lot to process. After deciding that I could deal with the information that my sweet mother presented to me…I had but one question to ask: “Do I still get presents?”
My sister is exactly two years older than I am — and she has three kids, now. (Those are two separate thoughts, by the way. The fact that she is two years older has NOTHING to do with the fact that she has three children. They are not mutually exclusive.) The kids are all under ten years old – therefore, they believe in the Supreme Being that is: Santa Claus.
For the past couple of years, a family tradition has been in the works. (Forcing a family tradition is kinda like trying to give a cat a bath. No one really wants to do it, but a bath is needed…and it is going to happen…whether any of you like it, or not. Supplies are purchased, a plan is put into place to trick the cat and get it in the tub, long sleeve shirts are worn to thwart scratching…The whole shaboodle.) The tradition being put into place, thus far, has been that: on Christmas Eve, I go to my sister’s house to hang out with the kids and watch ‘Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’ and then, once the kids go to bed, I play Santa by helping with wrapping the presents/putting the presents under the tree. (I also have the burden of eating the cookies to make it look like Santa has visited. I know. There will be monuments made in my honor, one day.)
My sister has a five bedroom house. And the room that my sister has designated to be the room where all of the presents are stored is right across from the girls’ room, and down the hall from the little boy’s room. (This part is stressful for me. I’m a bad liar. Any noise we make…if the kids come up to the room and knock on the door…I’m opening the door and telling them EVERYTHING.)
I’m terrible at wrapping presents – but I do have decent penmanship. So my sister wraps presents…and then passes them along to me to write the ‘To’ and ‘From’. We are (sort of) efficient.
Any lack of efficiency comes mostly from my ‘I-Don’t-Take-Much-Seriously’ attitude. For example: I asked my sister, “Who do you want me to put as ‘From’? ‘From: Mom and Dad’? ‘From: Santa’?” She said, “I don’t really care who you put.”
I labeled all of the presents as ‘From: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’.
My sister started to slow down on wrapping the presents, and saw what I had been writing. She stops, looks at me, and says, “Why? Why are you putting that?”
Here’s Why — (and the whole point to this post)
How is it any less likely that Ruth Bader Ginsburg traveled all over the world and delivered Christmas Presents to everyone in one night?
Think about it.
As a society, we have created a fictional character who lives in a fictional place. He is an Operations Manager at a Toy Factory. His sole purpose in this world is just to monitor children’s behavior and sleeping habits…and then, one night a year, he drives a vehicle that flies and is powered by magic and reindeer.
Never a mention if Santa has an education. Never a mention of career goals. Never a mention of Santa’s mortgage payments (if any). Never a mention of Santa’s bills. Never a mention of overhead costs in the North Pole. Never a mention of insurance payments. Never a mention of salary. Never a mention of health benefits, paid-time-off, paid vacation, paid sick leave, retirement plans, 401k…
Here’s how I see it: Santa is a very old man who likes cookies and milk, who never gets a day off, and who works himself to the bone in undesirable conditions and who will probably never retire.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Supreme Court Justice in the United States of America. She is educated. She has a background. She has a story. She has an opinion. She has good work ethic. She makes a difference. (And…not for nothin’…but she probably has a pension.)
So – It doesn’t have to be Notorious R.B.G… But why can’t our imagination for Santa run to someone who inspires kids to be interested in our Judicial System? Why can’t it be someone who gets kids to be interested in making our country better? Or making themselves better? Why can’t it be someone who exists – and maybe they ordered presents off of Amazon?
Let’s create a better class of Santa.