This has been my MSN name ever since I felt the pressure of Christmas arriving. A bunch of people asked me about it already and my response was always something along the lines of I had to clean the house and cook for a lot of family guests. I never quite fully enjoyed Christmas because I never had a Christmas. Well, as a Chinese immigrant I must correct that to be “a Christmas that I imagined it to be”.
Ever since I heard about Christmas, I dreamed of meeting Santa Clause. I always felt that if I truly believe in him, then I can one day meet him. It’s pretty ironic that now I feel the complete opposite, I feel that Santa Clause truly does not exist. Perhaps a lot of kids have had this transition of belief, but I feel mine is worth mentioning because I never received any Santa gifts, though I still believed his existence for the longest time. People in my family never bought into the whole Santa thing.
When I was living in Vancouver, I told my dad to buy a giant sock for me before Christmas. I told him that it’s for Santa. He took it as “it’s a Christmas thingy”. I put it on the fireplace, wishing that something magical would happen, but obviously it didn’t. I remember telling my dad later that Santa is supposed to put gifts in it on Christmas eve, I don’t remember what his response was. The next year, I put the sock there again, still no Santa. But I didn’t lose faith, I continued until this one day (this happened 4 years later in Toronto at a friend’s birthday party), my friend told me that her parents would put gifts beside her when she’s sleeping on Christmas eve to make her believe Santa’s existence. And then it hit me, I’ll even make a sound for it, BAM! It hit my head, that Santa Clause doesn’t exist! It’s all fictional, for stupid kids to buy into their parents’ tricks. But the funny thing is, my dad never did, but I still believed in Santa.
I think what really tricked me was that Santa knows what I want. The thing is, I don’t know what I want, but I felt that I wanted something. Maybe anything would’ve made me happy. My dad believed that if it’s something I don’t need, then it’s worthless. Every time I wanted something, I had to somehow make it something I need. For instance, the giant sock, I had to tell him that because we will have guests over, we should have some Christmas decorations in the house. Now, because I made it a whole family thing, it becomes okay to purchase the giant sock, otherwise it would not have been. This is probably something that’s embedded in almost all Chinese parents: to teach their children the difference between “need” and “want”.
In western culture, Christmas is for kids. You see this on TV, in movies, and most definitely, in the toys. But it’s not exclusively for kids, nowadays the media get to everyone who’s capable of a little spending (which will later turn into a whole lot). The presents are never about whether if the person needs it, it’s about whether if the person will like it. And “like” translates to “want” in most cases, unless you’re dealing with a Chinese parent (who most likely doesn’t celebrate Christmas anyway).
Christmas in my household, or most households that I know of, is a special occasion. It’s no longer “Christmas”, it’s just a day that family and family friends gather together. For my generation, we’re obligated to stay with the family on the day of. It becomes a sense of responsibility. For me, I feel that I ought to behave a certain way. As I grow older, I stopped hoping to receive presents, I began giving them out. As I make more money, the gifts become pricier as a result. From a simple scarf and necklace at age 16 to a 52” LCD TV at age 21. Because to me, Christmas is still about giving. Even though I realized that Santa does not exist, I still feel that the key idea here, is to give. Perhaps I will never have a Christmas the way I imagined it to be, for I no longer am a kid thus even if Santa does exist he’s not going to put presents in my socks. But there’s still a little piece of me that hope one day my kids will believe in Santa, because it was a nice feeling having something to hope for at night.