“Do Jesus and Santa Claus come from the same place?” our sons ask us. It is confusing because our family displays these icons together at this time of year: jovial, fat man in red pajamas beside nearly naked infant cradled in ceramic hay. “If Joseph isn’t Jesus’ dad, then maybe Santa is,” the boys say.
Our family doesn’t have a train set to put up at the holidays; instead we place the manger beside the tree and our sons play with the figures as though they are G.I. Joes. It may be sacrilegious—the way our sons engage the three wise men in wrestling matches or turn Mary into a C.I.A. agent sent to free the sheep and livestock from the overlord shepherd-boy; but they are only children. And we have decided that we are not a religious family.
“I think that God is Jesus’ father,” my husband points out.
“Then, maybe Santa is Jesus’ uncle,” our sons suggest.
And now it all makes sense: twelve disciples transported by twelve reindeer, water freezing so that everyone can walk across it, my husband suggesting, “Rather than milk and cookies, Santa might like crackers and a nice glass of wine.”
Dana Kroos received a MFA in fiction writing from New Mexico State University in 2008. Her short stories and poems have appeared in “Glimmer Train,” “The Florida Review,” “The Superstition Review,” “Minnesota Monthly” and others. She also holds a MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MA from Purdue University. Currently she is working towards a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature at the University of Houston.