The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
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Santa--Film at Eleven

Sandra Tsing Loh's younger daughter, Suzy, wants to see hard evidence that Santa Claus is really exists.

I began the Christmas season a bit GLOOMY.

Never mind the BLAH of December, where while some jazzy SAX is playing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" on the radio, summoning to MIND a cozy SNOWBOUND New Hampshire bed and BREAKFAST, in reality HERE you are in disagreeably WARM 75 degree Los Angeles, merging onto the choked TEN. "Look at this TRAFFIC!" I exclaimed. "Let's DECORATE the shriveled-up Christmas CACTUS, why don't we?"

Worse was the fact that my children are now nine and 11, and after throwing 10 Christmases already, a parent starts to WONDER how many more TIMES Santa ACTUALLY has to show UP.

Even my girls' CLASSMATES are starting to QUESTION, and who knows what cynical Yule-mocking Sponge Bob EPISODES they've SEEN--And further, if truth be TOLD, last year Santa PUSHED it a little in our household by failing to not APPEAR in a blurry VIDEOTAPE filmed by a hidden camera resting in the EAR of a porcelain BUNNY. The CAMERA was my then eight year old's IDEA-- Suzy wanted hard EVIDENCE of Santa-- Not the piece of red fabric he leaves BEHIND-- Not the desultory bites of COOKIE--

She wanted him on film and, Christmas morning, film is what she got. Now I HAVE to believe this was the first taped EVIDENCE of Santa-- I have to believe when SIMILAR schemes are ATTEMPTED, by OTHER intrepid children, Santa kicks OVER the camera and remains invisible-

But Santa tends to get SLOPPY in our house, even exhibitionist. So not only did Santa appear in all of his traditional boisterous glory, what with the "Ho ho ho!" and "Merry Christmas!" There was also an almost overly theatrical "What the--?" when in slow-motion Santa mimed discovering the videotaping BUNNY.

Even more disturbing, surprisingly visible in what I thought would have been much much MUCH murkier lighting, Santa bore a close physical resemblance to a male family friend just the TYPE to stuff a pillow into a red CVS suit, given how dearly he LOVES to belt a show tune.

While Suzy was both amazed and horrified by the video, my older daughter Maddy endured it without comment. What a backfire!It was like she had been presented with incontrovertible evidence, actually, that Santa is FAKE.

"So your little sister still believes in Santa Claus," I observed this year.

"How about you?" I asked tentatively, giving her an out.

"I don't, generally," my 11 year old mused. "And that fake VIDEO last year was
pretty bad."

"It. . . wasn't. . . fake!" I protested.

"But at Christmas time," she smiled, with visions of ITUNES dancing in her eyes.

"Just to be polite? I DO BELIEVE."

"Oh honey!" I exclaimed, resolving to myself, JUST ONE MORE YEAR! And with much darker lighting! Think Christmastime Blair Witch!