One of my favorite Christmas Things on the Interwebs is a 2012 essay from Paul Bibeau’s wonderful blog goblinbooks. The hilariously strange pieces Bibeau posted were often biting, ironic, and acerbic, but this was a surprising departure in tone.
Alas, that great old blogspot blog is no longer reachable, so my annual attempt to make “The Truth About Santa Claus” a viral holiday tradition will henceforth be foiled by readers landing on the “permission denied” page that link takes you to.
But here’s a taste of the essay, which gives you the nut of the lovely truth about Santa that Bibeau expressed so well:
Santa Claus is one of the oldest and largest secret conspiracies which has ever existed anywhere. Countless generations throughout the centuries have worked to keep it alive and pass it on to their kids. And the result is that every year in homes around the world, on the same night, millions of parents perform a complex, coordinated ritual of laying out cookies, milk, reindeer food … of putting their kids to bed and waiting until they are sure they’re asleep, even those older ones who are sharp and suspicious. Then they pull treasure from closets and attics and hidden places. They use a certain kind of wrapping paper. They throw boxes away carefully. They write notes and leave footprints in the snow.No one has to give the signal. No one holds a rehearsal. No one has to make sure it all happens again in 12 months. Moms and dads have learned it from their parents. Aunts, uncles and friends tell stories to keep it alive. A large portion of the human race makes this happen each Christmas Eve, and all of it is like, well, magic.
… And the heart of it is this: that we are here to love one another. That our most important job is to help the people around us build a life in this world. That the best we can ever hope to accomplish in our short time here is to someday be someone’s happy memory. Parents know this. And so do couples and friends and anyone holding anyone else’s hand under our shared and difficult circumstances.
Eventually, children grow to old to continue being the audience for this joyful conspiracy. That shouldn’t leave them disillusioned, Bibeau says, because what happens then is something even better: They are initiated into the conspiracy themselves and invited to continue passing it on.
Anyway, since I can no longer encourage you to go read the whole thing, I’ll leave you with this mostly unrelated bit of pure holiday joy: