By KAMILA KAHN
There are many things I don’t understand in life. Why Rob would take back Kristen. Why men wear stone wash jeans. Why anyone still listens to John Mayer. But there is one thing I really can’t understand – Santa.
I’m Muslim and I don’t celebrate Christmas. Just like the other 1.6 billion Muslims, 800 million Hindus and 13 million Jews around the world. That’s a lot of people who don’t partake in the December 25th celebrations, and yet I am still given that Pauline Hanson type ‘please explain’ look when I tell people I don’t do Christmas. Having been born and raised in Australia I am well aware of the Christian tradition and the commercial tradition of the day, but I still can’t get my head around Santa Claus.
Growing up surrounded by the festive tinsel and jingles in every shopping centre, I never questioned why I didn’t celebrate Christmas like my other friends. I didn’t understand why a one-day celebration took up the last three months of the year in decorations and planning, but went along for the ride anyway. Christmas just made me think of school holidays and the Boxing Day test match at the MCG.
But I knew that coming back to the new school year would bring with it that dreaded question, “What did Santa bring you this year?” I remember one time a teacher drilled me for a full ten minutes in front of the class as to why Santa brought me ‘nothing’. The thought of jolly St Nick not visiting my house left her outraged.
Looking back on this event it perplexes me to think why an adult would react so vehemently to this. Did she not understand that Santa wasn’t real? In fact in our current age of rationalism, why does society continue to instill the myth of Santa? I have many atheist friends who abhor the thought of teaching their children about an imaginary man in the sky but are happy to teach them about an imaginary man in the Arctic.
Is Santa just used to keep kids from being naughty when parents can’t be bothered with another time-out? Or is he more like a socially accepted lie that’s passed on from one generation to the next? Or perhaps he is simply the oldest and most successful corporate brand out there?
Whatever he is, it seems like he is surely entrenched in the Australian Christmas psyche. But to us Australians who don’t celebrate Christmas, he’ll always be that strange old man who only works one day a year and spends the rest of the time judging your every move. Please explain.
Kamila lives in Sydney with her husband and 2 children. Trying her best to live in reality, Kamila cant help but spend most of the day with her imaginary friends in a world beyond words.
Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you ‘get’ the Santa thing?