In an age of sheer capitalism, Instagram filters, and depressing global news stories, it seems as if the mystique surrounding Christmas has vanished, or so methinks.
I fondly remember the excitement I used to feel when I was a little girl during the Christmas period. Ecstatically, I used to wait for Santa Claus to deliver the gifts that I would eventually find lying in a neat pile beneath the Christmas tree, leaving milk and cookies the night before to help in the cause of sustaining his journey (not checking on a search engine whether Santa’s lactose or gluten intolerant). Sometimes, I used to stay up all night ruminating in my bed about the fantastical possibility of Santa travelling all over the globe in one night, and trying to logistically reason out how he could do such a thing; why poverty still exists even though Santa is supposed to deliver presents to every child in every country….and the like. In the end, I used to console myself that all this can be explained via one term: magic.
It is this same ‘magic’ that seems to slowly disappear once you start growing up and tiptoeing into the so-called ‘adult’ world. In the age of social media, with all the pluralistic possibilities presented to us by new technologies, the belief in the supernatural wanes in favour of instantly gratifying the ego by ‘likes’, ‘retweets’ and ‘face tuning’. The imagination is geared towards capitalistic ends, while dissatisfaction breeds more consumerism.
While it can be argued that the character of Santa Claus has long been used to serve capitalistic purposes, I am still a believer in using the image of Santa Claus to project a more altruistic cause. Why can’t we be a Santa Claus to each other by providing the gift of empathy to a friend who might be passing through a rough patch in life? Why can’t we be a Santa Claus by smiling to a stranger stuck in morning traffic, instead of flipping them off? Why can’t we be a Santa Claus to our own minds by giving ourselves more time to truly take care of our mental well-being and indulge in necessary self-care? Why can’t we be a Santa Claus to our own bodies by stopping the cycle of self-criticism and deleting our social media accounts every now and then?
This Christmas, I truly propose that we all regain the magic that we have lost due to the turbulence of life, and really use this period to be a bit kinder to our fellow human-beings, and most importantly, to ourselves. As simple or campy as this may sound, this everyday kind of magic might truly be the key to overcoming the expectations society imposes on us during the holiday period, and instead be our very own Santa in determining the journey of our own personal lives.