Archived Story

Santa is making my life difficult

Published 12:00am Friday, December 7, 2012

The originator of Santa Claus certainly knew how to torment parents.

I realize that there was a real guy by the name of St. Nicholas who roamed the streets of Patara, Greece in the third century. He has somehow evolved into our present day Santa Claus. That Santa Claus hardly resembles the man legend says resurrected three small children who were butchered and put in the barrel.

It doesn’t sound like a story many people would be likely to tell around the Christmas tree, does it?

Instead, we have a jolly old soul who comes down chimneys carrying a bag full of toys for boys and girls. What child wouldn’t like to hear that kind of story?

And yet this North Pole resident has parents across the world guessing what their children want every year.

Last year when my son was 2, he had no idea that Santa existed. The only time he spotted the stranger at a local church breakfast, he quickly locked his arms around dad’s legs. When Santa reached out with a candy cane, he loosened his hold and approached this stranger with wary.

One year later, Gibson’s whole attitude about Santa has changed dramatically. Now he knows this is the guy responsible for bringing toys and granting wishes.

About a month ago, the Santa sightings started. Since then, Mom and Dad have listened carefully for any hints of what our 3-year-old would like to see under the tree this year. Walking through the toy aisle at one of the local super stores, Gibson seems to want everything within sight.

“Santa is going to be easy this year,” I thought.

Whether it was more train cars for his Thomas the Train set or a racetrack for his growing set of Matchbox cars, we couldn’t miss. Even a Spiderman or Ironman action figure would do.

My confidence was shaken when we went for breakfast with Santa at Grace United Methodist Church last Saturday.

When I surprised Gibson that morning with the suggestion that we go see Santa, he could hardly contain his excitement and danced in the middle of the living room floor. Unlike last year, he was ready to hop into Santa’s lap.

It was more like a leap when his turn in line came.

As Santa asked Gibson how old he was and chatted with him for a few seconds, it was clear that Gibson had something to say. Then the big question came.

“What do you want for Christmas this year?” Santa asked.

Gibson looked up and said, “A rocket ship.”

I was a little stunned when I heard this. In the last two months of flipping through toy wish books, Gibson has not once expressed interest in anything space-like. The one time I showed him the collection of Star Wars action figures (the kind of toy I wanted from Santa), Gibson quickly turned the page to look at trucks and cars.

Then all of a sudden he tells Santa he wants a rocket ship.

A quick trip through the Internet toy sites made me realize my sudden predicament. There are few rocket ship toys out there for 3-year olds.

When I asked Gibson to describe the rocket ship he wanted, he simulated with his arms a rocket lift-off accompanied by a large whooshing sound. It was not much help.

Whatever confidence I had was gone. Of all the things for which my son could of asked, he named something that’s going to take some Christmas magic to produce. I am afraid this may be the first of many years of Hillyer holiday miracles to come.

Who came up with this Santa idea anyway?


Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3551 or