Each morning on the 25th, the first thing I do is look under my pillow. And each morning on the 25th, for as long as I can remember, I without doubt find something or the other there – a box of chocolates, a little toy, a book. So it has become a habit of sorts. These days, my younger sisters wake me up before I can look myself with the standard – ‘What did Santa get for you this time?’. Before I can tell them, they rattle off with their own list of under the pillow goodies. It seems this time our Santa did a little upgrade. He finally found the socks we’d hung near the bedpost so there was less danger of us waking up while he sneakily tried to stuff gifts under our pillows. Maybe this Christmas, we can pat ourselves on the back for becoming more considerate.
I remember having a fight with my friends when I was in the fifth grade. All because they had the gall to suggest that Santa wasn’t real. With narrowed eyes and puffed up cheeks, I declared, ‘Maybe you are just not good children’, and stomped away. Because I believed in Santa. Despite all my rationality. I had years worth of gifts to prove it. Every 25th without fail. And even as Christmas creeps near this year, I see my younger sisters writing a letter to Santa and asking their dad to post it, with all the surety that it will be read that only children can have. And I wonder if they fight with their friends about Santa’s existence or not. And if they reply in the same pompous tone as I did or not.
It took me, after all, quite a long time to realize that there is no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ kids, there are just some which are incredibly lucky.
And in some ways more than the others, I have been quite so. Rather than being bad children, maybe my friends just did not have any person in their house who believed in Christmas or wanted their children to. It is not our festival anyway. We already have enough with Diwali and Holi and Dussehra and Janmashthmi.
But festivals are fun. And carols jolly. And as I shop with my Aunt reading off from a list of gifts that her husband handed her which she needs to get before 24th eve, I still find one box of chocolates stuffed beneath my pillow when I wake up on the 25th.