According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.
Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl….are you still with me?
We should have known… ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.
As Christmas 2010 approaches, I found myself dragging my feet. The words ‘Bah Humbug’ were dancing through my head. As early as September I started to notice not so subtle signs of the approaching event. “Oh no.. how could Christmas be here already!” I tried not to think about the attic, where the decorations from 2009 lay, still scattered, awaiting my attention.
“I was going to get around to that…” This has been my mantra for 2010. I was going to change it to something more positive, but I just didn’t get around to it.
And so it was, that the event that shook me out of my pre-Christmas doldrums, was one I hadn’t expected for at least a couple more years. As I innocently tucked into my lunch, Miss 9 took it upon herself to blow me out of the water:
“Hey Mum, you do know there is NO Santa Claus…right? It is your parents that bring the gifts. Of course there IS a Christkind… and a baby Jesus…”
I was glad that my mouth was full of potato… a large gulp of water stopped me from needing to learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver on myself in a big hurry. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t her statement just seem bizarre on so many levels? Where was her Aussie spirit of Christmas… Has she been completely and utterly swallowed up the Catholic Church? I made the mistake of asking her if she feels more Australian or more German – and the reply left me cold. There was nothing for it. A full scale SANTA assault was required. Nothing like a challenge to get me up and running.
(Here you can see Miss 9 doing her Tiny Tim impression after she tried to tell me it wasn’t cold outside… so I locked her on the terrace for 10 minutes…)
This morning was St Nikolaus. Boots were cleaned and shined last night in preparation for the treats that would fill them (only for good boys and girls, of course), then sat neatly outside the bedroom door. Only this time, little Miss 9’s size 33 boot contained a letter this morning amongst the clementines, walnuts and lebkuchen. A letter from Bernard the Elf… Santa’s right hand man.
It is a dangerous thing to say the words ‘I don’t believe’. You never know who might be listening.
Bernard plans to send Miss 9 many, many reminders of the existence of Santa….and she is already looking a little worried.