Christmas Disappointment for the 8 Year Old Mind

This year for Christmas, little boy, you're getting a nice sock full of ...

OK, you're gonna walk downstairs and you're going to see a couple of smiling family members staring up at you. Give a little nod, maybe grind the sleep out of your eyes with your fists, show them you've been sleeping all night. Yes, maybe even a little yawn, that's it. Don't let them see that you've already opened all of your presents and re-taped them. Don't let them see the disappointment you felt only an hour ago when you discovered the endless supply of tube socks, educational computer games and the stocking full of dental floss. You're going to go down there and open your presents like the good little boy that you are and you're gonna smile at the socks and you're gonna "Oh boy!" at the computer games and you're gonna FLOSS FLOSS FLOSS your way to a merry fucking Christmas.

"Merry Christmas, son!" Mom, oh so chipper in the morning, sits with her cup of coffee in her hand on the end of the couch, facing the tree afflicted with ornaments, tinsel, garland, and multi-colored lights to overload the visual senses. "You look tired. Did we wake you too early?"

"No, mom, I'm fine." I grasp hold of the last ounce of pep I have left in my being and force myself to play down to their little Christmas game of "Fuck the 8-year old."

Never do the imbeciles take the hints laid out, once slyly slipped into conversation, now crushing them over their feeble heads. Every year I scour almost every form of media available to my underage person, from television commercials on Nickelodeon to the Internet (getting through that damn Child-Safety Lock is a Son-of-a-Bitch, let me tell you) to the Sunday newspaper inserts by Toys R Us and Kay Bee. I cut, print and tape my way to a certain Merry Christmas, peppering the refrigerator with a constant barrage of advertisements ranging from Bad-for-the-Child-Mind video games to Bad-for-the-Healthy-Child-Body candy products to some God-damned wholesome Bad-for-the-Child-Imagination toy guns. I "mistakenly" leave my word-document letter to "Santa" open on the computer, and I print out fifty copies of it, leaving them in strategic places all over the house. The toilet's always a nice place. Get lots of reading done in there.

But alas, I'm always disappointed on Christmas, and for some reason, my conscience always tells me to put on a happy face. Hell, these people raise me, they pay for my food, and yes, I do get toys sometimes - when I buy them with my allowance! But, whenever Christmas rolls around, they always think they know best. Since when do adults know what a child wants for Christmas? We get enough learning done in school; I don't need something to help me with world Geography in my free time! And now for the rest of the day I gotta play with this crap or else it'll look like I'm ungrateful. Talk about a waste of a fucking holiday!

"OK, son, what do you want to open first?" There's dad, sitting on his knees with the camcorder, recording yet another precious moment of unfettered frustration.

"How about the so-" Whoops, almost slipped up there! "How about this one?"

"Howard, are you getting all this on tape?" My mom, so excited. Her anticipation for my happiness is only equaled by her clueless-ness on a thoughtful child present.

"Oh ... cool. I need more socks. Thanks mom and dad!" Yep, you've got to be a classically trained actor to feign interest while on camera. Where's my God-Damned close-up, DeVille?

"Oh no, son, we didn't get you that. It's from Santa!" Yes, they're still going along with it. How old is old enough before I break the bad news to them that Santa no longer exists?

"Ohhh Kay. Thank you, Santa!" Yes, of course, why not one more year?


The pile of rubble. The carnage of a dozen perfectly wrapped presents now lain to waste on the living room floor surrounded by pine needles, ribbon, and countless gifts soon to be stowed away in the bottom of my closet or under my bed ... that is, except for the socks. I didn't lie before; I really do need more socks. But this isn't a day for need, it's a day for want and what I want is to wake up from this dream to a house full of toys and sensibly happy parents - not to the point of annoying like it is now.

"Boy, Santa sure went out of his way to make sure you had a Merry Christmas, didn't he Sammy?" Seriously, this madness has to stop. They're just asking for me to rip into this charade, aren't they?

I turn to my dad, rage building to the point of no return; I'm talking Hiroshima up in this berg! I gaze upon his warmly smiling face, camera pointed squarely at mine, red light taunting me with the knowledge of embarrassment years down the road. You mean to tell me you still believed in Santa Claus when you were eight! Just before my veins explode and my eyes roll back into my head, I manage a feeble, "Uh-huh."

"You know, Santa must think you're awfully special, since he went to all this trouble. When I was your age, I didn't get nearly as nice-a gifts. All I remember getting were cap guns and little toy soldiers and candy. That stuff will rot your mind and your body. Luckily for you, Santa has the foresight to get you what you really wanted -"

"Stop! I can't take it anymore! I know Santa's not real, OK? I mean, really, you're just using him as an excuse because I got stuck with a bunch of socks and floss. The wrapping paper's more fun to play with, for Christ's sake!" I stand up to leave, and as I do, Dad turns off the camera.

"Wait, you didn't get what you wanted on your list? Didn't you mail it in to him?"

"Dad! Are you listening? Santa's not real! Jesus, he doesn't even have a mailing address if he did!"

"Sure he does, it's just 'The North Pole'."

Flabbergasted. I cannot believe Dad's still trying to carry this out. Mom walks into the room and I try to appeal to a lesser moron ... to no avail.

"Mom, will you tell dad that Santa's not real!"

"What are you talking about? What's going on, Howard?"

"Sammy forgot to mail in his list and now he's mad that he didn't get what he wanted."

"Well, Sammy, I've got to say that you're all the more lucky. I mean, you don't send out your list and you still get all these great presents!"

"Mom, these presents SUCK! Nobody wants to play 'Fishing' on the PC. An Erector Set? Who am I, Bob Vila? I can't believe you guys didn't see all the toy ads and my ACTUAL lists spread all through this house."

"Of course we saw them, son, do you think we're blind?" Dad says. "That's why I was so surprised at what you got. I figured you sent him a different list or something. If I knew you had forgotten, I would have reminded you!"

I calm myself down. In a normal tone, I come back with, "Why couldn't you guys just once get me what I ask for? Every year I get these kinds of presents after a month full of being good and hint-giving. Why not just one thing on my list?"

"I'm really sorry, son. You're gonna have to take it to the big man in the North. He's the one who you need to tell your story to."

"Why can't you just stop pretending 'Santa' did this? Talk to me like a normal boy!"

"Sammy," mom says, "do you think we'd actually go out and buy presents for you when we know that Santa Claus is up there giving them away for free?"

"I can't believe this. Just leave me alone. I'm going up to my room! I can't take you guys anymore!"

"Maybe if you were a little more appreciative, Santa would stop burdening you with presents that aren't up to your standards, young man!"


I sit at my computer in my room, completely dejected. I check my e-mail, with which I get my Cartoon of the Day, my Joke of the Day, and my subscription to Kid's Weekly, an E-Zine. One new message from an unknown sender. You know, you'd think the filters would keep the porn out of a child's e-mail inbox. I click on it anyway. Who knows, maybe a little boob-action might brighten up an otherwise dreary day. All there is is a link with the words "click here" typed in it.

I follow the order and what pops up cannot be fathomed by my mind.


Exactly what this title is supposed to represent I haven't the foggiest, but fear starts to creep in. I scroll down.


Christmas presents consist of jagged rocks, used toilet paper, and excessive amounts of coal in the stocking.

To Exit Naughty Level 5 you must perform a positive net amount of ACTS OF KINDNESS per day for one full year.

To appeal your sentence, please send an e-mail with your case stated to the address below:


"I told you, son. You should have been more appreciative. Looks like you're gonna have to be extra-nice every day." Dad takes off his reading glasses and sits solemnly on my bed.

"But, what about an appeal?" I can't believe I'm making this argument. I KNOW it isn't real, but that doubt always comes back. Don't test your lord when he deals in presents.

"Sammy, you know as well as I do that he sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake."

"Yeah yeah yeah, he knows if I've been bad or good. God! I hate this!"

"Well, now, that isn't the attitude to be taking now is it? You're gonna have to genuinely enjoy the practice of kindness. Otherwise, he'll know and he'll stick you with a buttload of earth. Rocks and coal. How does that sound?"

"You know, dad, Jewish people don't have to deal with this kind of racket."

"That's true, son. But honestly, you know as well as I do that Hanukah bites. There's a lot to be said for getting rocks and coal over dreidels and candles."

"I suppose that's true. I can use them to build a fire pit and burn all the crappy presents I've gotten over the years."

"That's the spirit, son! I knew you were too smart to convert."

So I guess that's it. It's either conform to this sadistic holiday and its overbearing dictator, or renounce it all. On the one hand, it goes against every fiber of my being. The niceness, the pleasantries, the forced smiles. On the other hand, I stand to gain a superb bounty, a feast for the greediness of my heart. If all it takes is a little kindness brought on by some slick blackmail trick, then by all means, let me be Santa's bitch. Oh, I'll spread your precious kindness! And if I get screwed out of my bounty, I'm coming up there! Believe you me, Mr. Cringle, you sick Nazi bastard! There will be a reckoning if my kindness goes unrewarded!