All I Want for Christmas

posted Saturday December 24th, 2016



Sophie is terrified of Santa Claus.

Either that, or she’s completely full of shit.

We’re less than a day out from Christmas, and I’m no closer to knowing the truth than I was the day after Thanksgiving. Yesterday we drove around visiting friends — exchanging gifts, admiring trees, sipping festive beverages — and Sophie talked non-stop about her birthday party.

Her birthday is in May. She’ll be 14 — and that might have something to do with it.

In the letter she finally decided to write (well, text) she asked Santa for “pads for my face and pads for my period” and she keeps asking if Santa knows she is a woman.

That makes me laugh (behind my hand, I don’t let her see) but I wonder if Sophie is less afraid of Santa and more worried about growing up? She’s embraced puberty with such gusto, it’s hard to imagine. But I don’t have an explanation for this anxiety. She’s a control freak and she knows I love Christmas — it could simply be that.

Or it could be that she really is afraid of a creepy old man sneaking into her bedroom. (Trust me, we assure her every year that he’ll stick to the fireplace area and there’s never been evidence to the contrary.)

I worry that it might be more, and clearly I’m not equipped to address it.

Last night I came home from one last trip to Target to two weeping girls. Annabelle, I get. “Christmas is almost over!” she said, the tears spilling. I feel the same way, preparing days in advance for the inevitable letdown of December 26.

But Sophie’s clearly counting the days till Christmas is over — turning off the holiday music, not even interested (much) in gifts — and as a person who makes holiday terrariums and freaked when I saw that Target was selling Hershey kisses that look like Santa hats — I can’t relate to that at all.

I’ve got one more day to shake some holiday spirit into her, and I intend to try. Hard.

As for me? All I want for Christmas is a peek inside that kid’s brain.




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One Response to “All I Want for Christmas”

  1. As a child, I was terrified of Santa. One of my earliest memories is of hiding under my dad’s recliner after being encouraged to answer the door on Christmas Eve. My parents had arranged for a high school fundraiser Santa to ring our doorbell. Another year, the story goes, I ran through the mall crying, “Papa, save me!” when my grandmother took me to sit on Santa’s lap at Tower Plaza. I have no idea why Santa terrified me, but I’m not much for Christmas.

    On a recent afternoon, Sophie and I were driving around. She sits in the front seat now, which is cool. I told her that you told me she’s not so keen on Santa this year. I asked her why (knowing that asking a teenager WHY is often an exercise in futility). She mumbled something. I turned down the music and asked her to repeat. “I don’t know if he knows I have Down Syndrome,” she said. I reminded her that Santa “knows all” and asked her if she thought Santa knowing she has DS would change anything. She changed the subject. She is really gifted at that maneuver. And, for a teenager, pretty in touch with the whys…

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