It’s always Santa.

The other day, we were supposed to go to the Christmas Village, but things happened and we didn’t go. Which was fine, we did other things, had meaningful talks, went to the beach to kill the time, normal stuff.

Aunty Irene told me and mommy about this house in St. Joseph village that is super lit-up, and it’s supposed to be the Most Lit-Up House in the village. And believe me when I tell you, that that title is pretty much legit. It’s called Santa’s Wonderland. They decorated everything outside the house with a Santa’s Workshop theme, with presents, funky reindeer, I guess  you’d call them animatronic balloons? among other things. The tree was huge! Like a skyscraper in the middle of Port-of-Spain. Not New York, we’re not that far yet.

It’s a great thing to carry your children to see. Shiny lights, moving things, Santa everywhere. But, that’s just it, I think. Nothing else really interested me. (Although, I did spend a lot of time by the trainset. I really like the idea of a snow globe Christmas town, complete with trainset running along the edges. It’s really perfect.) Still, all in all, it was a good idea. And totally free. The owners aren’t profiting from this at all. Personally, if I’d opened my house to the public I’d charge them, but that’s just me.

Share the Christmas spirit, make people happy, please the eye, make no profit from it.

Idealistically, people get to, briefly, feel like they’re in a Christmas movie.

Practically, I could see the faults – invasion of privacy, any and everybody coming at all hours of the night, no money coming in after all that, and the light bill will be plenty.

Personally, if it were my house, I’d never have bothered with all of that. To me it seems like a waste of money, and a waste of time. Many people will disagree, I’m sure, but that’s the wonderful thing about opinions- we all have them.  But then again, maybe the house was up for grabs and it was a move by a real estate  agency or something. But again, I dunno. Possibilities, and it’s not my concern really.

Apart from that, Sunday when we went, I wasn’t sure about it. Strangers and all kinds will be entering on private property.  Is this a good idea? And it’s true. This man, I dunno if he was drunk, or what, started cursing the security guard when he was refused admission. Which, I think was a good move on the officer’s part, since that sort of behaviour isn’t appropriate when children are around. And that whole attraction was ultimately for the children, so why expose them to that sort of thing when they just want to see Santa?

And I keep coming back to that light bill.

I swear, it seems when you have money you need to show it off. Such is the society in Trinidad. Madness, oui.

Also, maybe it’s cuz we haven’t been feeling the superficial, commercial falling off Christmas for a while now. Maybe it’s because we’ve been more involved in church in the past couple years. Maybe because after we decided to leave the Christmas Village we had a mini prayer service thing going. Whatever it was, or is, I didn’t feel the usual happiness/excitement/whatever that we usually do. I just felt sort of sad. It’s all Santa. All commercialised. No remembrance of the reason behind the celebration. No Christ in Christmas.

And I hear the world gasp.

Hear me out. Hindus for Divali – so many preparations, so many prayers, so much cleaning – they are allowed to show the significance of the festival. Yes it’s somewhat commercialised, but it’s not seen. It’s more for the goddess than it is for the money. Eid-ul-Fitr – Muslims take it seriously – quite obviously. A month of prayer and fasting, and abstinence. The same things can be seen in each of these festivals in Trinidad – cleaning, buying new clothes and dressing for houses, for food, but should Christians actually do things for Christmas and Christ we’re treated to passive-aggressive attitudes.

Okay that sounds bitter, and a little hypocritical, since I’m pretty slack church-wise.

But we do get to the heart of the matter here. Among the biblical scholars there is the idea of the end of days. It’s coming, it’s near, and we are seeing it, even though most people, including those who grew up in the church, don’t recognise it, whether genuinely or by choice. The reclaiming of the nation of Israel, and the movement of Jews worldwide to Israel; the movement of some Jews from Judaism to Christianity; the movement of children of the church to the world – where they prefer to forsake teachings of the church – both those seen as controversial and everything else.

And Christmas is one area where this is seen.  Yes peace on earth goodwill to all men. But does this mean anything anymore? What does this even mean anymore? The carols that everyone sings – do you even know why the lyrics are what they are? Did you think about it? Do you think about that? How long before the lyrics are changed to reflect something other than God?

I’m usually the first one to try to stop my mother when she goes on a verbal holy crusade, but I do see what’s happening, and when I find out about anything happening, I try to find connections to the end of days – not blindly. If it’s there, there it is, of not, move on.

And these days too much concern is on prep, cleaning, presents, trees, Santa, dresses and outfits…. Blah blah blah.

I dunno. I’m ranting here, maybe it doesn’t make sense, maybe there’s nothing here that I’m grasping at, maybe I’m wasting a couple hours here doing this up. I don’t think so. But I think we do celebrate for a reason. But most people don’t know it, and the rest of us forget it.

It’s not Santa, I know that much.

– Kaye


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