Treats for ‘Santa’

by | Dec 22, 2022 | Opinion

So, you’ve decided to lie to your kids. Not only that, but you’ve decided to double down and use props to aid you in the deception. What treats and goodies are you leaving out for Santa and his reindeer this Christmas? And what do your choices say about you?

The true origin of the Santa Claus story is a hotly disputed question. in 1967 an amateur scholar named R. Gordon Wasson published a book arguing that Amanita muscaria, the distinctive red and white spotted mushroom also known as fly agaric, was used in ancient ceremonies by shamans in the frozen forests of Siberia. These shamans were perhaps following the example of the semi-domesticated herds of reindeer that were so important to the survival of indigenous Siberians. Reindeer love magic mushrooms and are known to cavort drunkenly after eating them. If you saw a reindeer stumbling through the snow-laden forest, giggling and telling its mates how much he loved them, what would you do? Drink its pee right? Right.

And so the story goes that Santa Claus is an analogue for a Siberian shaman. He and his reindeer are flying because they are, along with everyone else, tripping balls as the kids say. Santa’s red suit with white trim? Sure looks like one of those funny mushrooms. Others have posited that the shaman would collect and dry these mushrooms and give them as gifts at the winter solstice. Snow would pile high around the base of the villagers’ teepee-like homes so the shaman would drop them through a flap in the roof: thus the presents down the chimney aspect of the Santa myth.

All this may well be nonsense. Another less outrageous claim is that Santa was invented in 1822 by a New Yorker named Clement Clarke Moore. It was he who turned the medieval saint Nicholas into a reindeer-driving spirit of midwinter. This invention was brought to life in his poem “A Visit from St Nicholas” or “The Night Before Christmas”. And then there is the Coca Cola theory.

Whether you believe Santa is a drug-addled sub-Arctic shaman, the product of Victorian sentimentalism, or the creation of 20th century hyper-capitalism, its a weird thing to lie to your kids about in the middle of the New Zealand summer. Any yet, here we are…

Mince pie and a glass of sherry: presumably you are very old. You are firmly tied to the traditions of England, or the UK, or Great Britain, or whatever you people call it. You’ve had that bottle of sherry for ten years. When you remove the cork the whole house smells of sadness.

Carrot for the reindeer: you love animals. All animals. Even cockroaches and very small dogs. The kids left home years ago but still with the carrots.

Big bottle of DB and a packet of Rothmans: you and only you understand the true meaning of Christmas. One day you’ll explain it to your kids but first you have to win back custody and relearn the power of speech.

Saucer of freshly baked biscuits and a glass of milk: your debauchery knows no bounds. You’ve got five kids and their names all start with the letter A. You insist your friends refer to your family as the A-Team. They have yet to build the prison that can hold you.

Cold Volare sausage roll and a can of L&P: you’ve recently reliquished ties with several white nationalist organisations. You get a family discount at the tattoo removal place in town. You heard about this Jesus guy and you’re curious to hear more.

Unbuttered slice of Vogel’s bread and a glass of distilled water: is a parent outliving her child one of life’s most terrible tragedies? You’re not sure but you’re determined to find out.



Photo by Vitaliy on Unsplash

About the Author

David Wrigley

David is a writer and musician from Kemureti/ Cambridge. He has been published in Noble Rot, Nourish Magazine, Turbine|Kapohau, New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, and is currently working on his first novel. He has done his time in restaurants in Aotearoa and the UK. Oh, yes. He has done his time.

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