The Face of a True Believer

Santa, the god-like omniscient giver of gifts: We believe!

The caption comes from my son’s response to this image of his niece, enraptured by the magic of Santa Claus. Meh. (But the picture is precious!)

Santa lately is taking some licks–even to the point of being decapitated as his skeleton hung on a Loudon County cross. I wonder if it is possible to just ask him to do public service instead, and promise to help him recover from his compulsive over-gifting.  (He died to set your VISA free.)

The Jolly Old Elf is being drug behind the unstoppable (?) engine of commerce. He is the ermine-wrapped Marlboro Man of Festivus, the indentured Elder Statesman of Excess and Debt.

Children fuel the juggernaut of consumption this time of year. And in the end, perpetuated by the true belief of some thing for nothing and lots of things, even better, the children of America, across the spectrum of those family budgets that can and mostly those who can’t, hear rain deer on the roof, leave cookies on a plate, and expect a hippopotamus for Christmas.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I wish parents didn’t feel compelled to make their children’s rooms burst with stuff. We sure start ’em young on their role as “consumers.” When did we start being referred to that way by the media instead of as “citizens”? It grates on me something awful. Is that our primary role in society? Phooey.

  2. Children don’t fuel the juggernaut, the robotic parents do. You can blame their parents, or some perception that the latest generation is overcompensating for whatever they felt cheated out of based on marketing.

    Just a few more days until we all return to the normal stupidity.

    Happy Winter Solstice. That’s something to get excited about, without any religious affiliation. Did those leaves get mulched?