I originally wrote this piece for the very awesome New Standards holiday show. Many thanks to John, Chan, and Steve.
I have a new holiday tradition. Right around Thanksgiving, I turn to my beautiful wife and say, “Honey, I hate Christmas.” She patiently listens as I go on the exact same rant that I do every year.
“I don’t want to hate Christmas. I used to love Christmas. I used to get a break from school. I used to look forward to opening presents. I normally got Star Wars action figures, but one year my mother hurt her back, got high on pain meds, and gave me three different individually wrapped flashlights.
I didn’t even care.
I just went to my room, turned off all the lights, and pretended the flashlight was a lightsaber. I danced around in the dark waving a flashlight like an idiot. That’s what Christmas used to be–a warm comforting light in the middle of the dark winter. It used to feel magical. Now it’s just more stuff I have to do.”
This year instead of just complaining to my wife, I’ve decided to make Christmas magical again. In order to do that, I’ve invented a new myth.
The myth of Adult Santa Claus.
I don’t mean Adult Santa Claus like a special holiday movie you would order in a hotel room.
No, Adult Santa is like your cool uncle who also happens to be a life coach. He has the magical ability to visit every stressed out adult in the world on one night. He doesn’t have a sleigh guided by reindeer and he doesn’t enter through a chimney. He drives a 1997 Ford Taurus with a missing muffler and he comes in the front door like a normal person.
Adult Santa has many names. In Germany he’s known as Dave Kringle. Some know him as Saint Chad, the patron saint of whatever, man. In Belgium, they just call him Low-Stress Pete.
Adult Santa doesn’t say, “Ho Ho Ho!” He says, “Ho Ho Ohhh—I’m tired. Whooo! My back is killing me. Ahhhhhhh! Son of a—!” And he just goes on like that for a while.
His face doesn’t appear on Coke cans, but you might see him on a package of Nicorette or a bottle of Xanax. Because Adult Santa is just here to help.
He logs onto your facebook account and deletes that horrible post you wrote about your mother-in-law while you were hiding in the bathroom during dinner. He finishes that stupid PowerPoint Presentation you have to give on December 27th. He leaves a big bottle of Trader Joe’s wine under your pillow. He knows Trader Joe’s wine isn’t fancy, but you like it, so who cares? Adult Santa doesn’t judge.
Maybe he just sits on the end of the bed and rubs your feet. It should be creepy that an old dude named Dave sneaks into your house and rubs your feet, but it’s not.
He will even hang out with you. Adult Santa will stay up late and watch that episode of Downton Abbey you’ve had on the DVR for two weeks. He agrees with you that the best part of Project Runway is Tim Gunn. He’ll bring you an Xbox and play co-op Call of Duty all night. He is really good with a grenade launcher.
Adult Santa won’t force you to sing Christmas Carols. But if you want to, he’s got a couple of carols he likes to sing. He calls them Realistic Christmas Carols. His favorites include “Silent Night, Passive-Aggressive Night,” “I’m Beginning To Bitch A Lot About Christmas,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is Two F’ing Minutes To Myself.” Adult Santa likes to say that by title alone his favorite Christmas Carol is “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses.
Unless you don’t like that kind of sarcasm, then Adult Santa just keeps it to himself. Because he’s not here to fight, he just wants you to be happy.
Adult Santa knows Christmas doesn’t actually suck.
It’s just really, really hard to be an adult.
So this year, I am going to recapture the magic of Christmas. On December 24th, I’m going to stay up late at night and wait for Adult Santa. I’ll set out some whiskey and a wedge of brie. I’ll sit in a dark room illuminated only by the glow of the Christmas tree. I’ll sip some of that whiskey as I listen for the low rumble of his rusted out Ford Taurus. I will feel warm and safe.
In that moment, I will get the true gift of Christmas. A gift that all adults deserve. Just a few precious minutes of peace on Earth.
Thank you and merry realistic Christmas to one and all.