International House of Dan: The Christmas Gargoyle

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Christmas Gargoyle

During the holidays last year, I had an epiphany like the one that led Frank Costanza to create Festivus, and I discovered the Christmas Gargoyle.  Like any responsible adult, I am concerned about the many potential dangers of perpetuating the Santa Claus myth.  I decided to learn more about the Christmas Gargoyle to see if it could serve as a more practical 21st Century alternative to Santa Claus.  The good news is: it can!

The Christmas Gargoyle has probably been around for centuries, quietly going about the task of delivering presents to deserving children, while Santa Claus in his various forms took all the credit.  The Christmas Gargoyle presents a far more plausible alternative for children across the globe.  Gargoyles are found in basically every country on earth, regardless of whether Christmas takes place during Summer or Winter.  The same is not true of reindeer.  Children see gargoyles from time to time, but they only see "Santa" for a short time during the year, and only under controlled circumstances.  Even a child knows that it makes more sense for her gifts to have been bought and delivered by one of those stone creatures that they have personally seen than assembled by unseen elves and delivered by some random fat man in red.

Children will never see "the" Christmas Gargoyle.  It's just the way it works.  If there should ever be a guy in a gargoyle suit charging admission at the mall, parents can confidently assure their kids that he is NOT the Christmas Gargoyle, and move along to wherever an actual stone gargoyle lives, so kids can tell IT what they want.  Kids want a picture with the Christmas Gargoyle?  That seems silly, but again, parents should just explain that it's physically impossible for them to ever see the Christmas Gargoyle but that the Christmas Gargoyle enjoys seeing children place Santa hats on regular gargoyles and take pictures with them.  Maybe the Christmas Gargoyle is omniscient, or maybe the regular gargoyles tell it about the pictures - who knows?  It's not important, but it can be part of the mystery.  Either way, the kids get a picture next to something or someone in a Santa hat.

The role of regular gargoyles adds another benefit: a year-round incentive for children to behave.  It's certainly just as plausible for the Christmas Gargoyle to work through the millions of existing gargoyles across the world as it is for Santa Claus to have any connection to the various impostors at malls and shops in only a limited part of the world and during the last few weeks of the year.  Unlike with Santa, though, the gargoyle in a nearby stone monument does not falsely claim to be the actual Christmas Gargoyle.  What is Santa trying to hide by deploying an army of impostors?  The Christmas Gargoyle has nothing to hide: "no, that church gargoyle is not me, but he will pass your message along to me."  Is that base level of transparency too much to ask of Santa?  The closest thing Santa can provide is the "Elf on the Shelf" - a grotesque and commercialized figure that is so creepy that its presence can only be tolerated for a short period before Christmas.  Gargoyles, on the other hand, have an established place in human society.  Their presence is accepted and welcomed around the globe, and has been for centuries.

A word should be said about the donation and message jar: Each home should have a designated jar or receptacle in which children can deposit loose change and notes for the Christmas Gargoyle.  You see, the Christmas Gargoyle has limited resources and logistical capabilities.  Children around the globe contribute to the Christmas Gargoyle, and the Christmas Gargoyle uses their contributions to pay for the gifts children receive.  Let's face it: your child will not receive a hand-carved wooden toy or a hand-sewn doll.  Your child will receive a store-bought gift.  What makes more sense?  Santa's elves managed to build and package that toy, or the Christmas Gargoyle bought it with the money from the jar?  It's a no-brainer.  The Santa myth promotes copy-right infringement and piracy, the Christmas Gargoyle teaches children about saving and sharing with the less fortunate.  The jar can also be used for children to leave notes for the Christmas Gargoyle, such as to request gifts, or to explain misdeeds.  The Christmas Gargoyle believes in due process, and thinks children should have an opportunity to explain their actions before they are deemed undeserving of gifts.  This makes the Christmas Gargoyle a useful tool for parents by teaching children to think about their actions, and encouraging moral accountability.

The fact that children can communicate with the Christmas Gargoyle through regular gargoyles (or by leaving notes in the designated jar) adds to the immense feasibility of the myth of the Christmas Gargoyle.  Parents have access to children's communications with the Christmas Gargoyle, ensuring that (unlike Santa) the Christmas Gargoyle does not over-promise and under-deliver.  Will your child ever be good enough in a year to get that pony she wants?  Let's be realistic: no - she won't.  I mean, she might be that good, but you're not going to get her a pony (and neither will Santa).  The Christmas Gargoyle would not set your child up for such bitter disappointment, because the Christmas Gargoyle shops locally and has to buy toys for all deserving children, and since the Christmas Gargoyle operates through messages and agents, it's important that children make realistic requests.  That's why parents should know what their children are asking of the Christmas Gargoyle, so they can ensure that the requests are compliant.  Consider the following exchange:
Little Timmy: Daddy, I want to tell that gargoyle in the park what I want for Christmas.
Responsible Father: Ok, I'll come with you.
LT: No, I want to tell it in private!
RF: Ok, but then you might not get what you ask for.  The Christmas Gargoyle has strict gift parameters, and if you don't meet them it just can't bring you what you want.  Wouldn't you rather be sure that what you're asking for is appropriate?
At that point, Little Timmy may insist on going solo, and then Responsible Father won't know what Little Timmy wanted.  Well, then guess what - Little Timmy isn't going to be getting what they asked for anyway.  So when Christmas rolls around, disappointed Little Timmy can be told: "well, your gift request must not have been compliant - that's why I wanted to be there when you asked the gargoyle."  Little Timmy should know better the following year.  On the other hand, Little Timmy might allow Responsible Father to tag along, and then Responsible Father can intervene if Little Timmy's request is unrealistic.  "Where is the Christmas Gargoyle supposed to find a robot with feelings?  Why don't you ask it for that train set instead?"  Here, again - Little Timmy might insist on an unrealistic gift, and there will be a reason for his disappointment, or Little Timmy might temper his expectations and be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Christmas Gargoyle has brought him exactly what he asked for (affirming Little Timmy's concept of fairness and trust in Responsible Father).

Finally, the Christmas Gargoyle's limited resources can also work to your advantage.  The Christmas Gargoyle wraps its own gifts, and it's a gargoyle.  So if you lack Martha Stewart's gift presentation skills, then that's ok: "the Christmas Gargoyle has stubby stone fingers, cut it some slack, kid."  Did UPS fail to deliver the gift by Christmas?  (or did you forget to order it on time?)  That's ok - the Christmas Gargoyle strives for timely gift-delivery, but it's not part of the commercial Christmas establishment the way Santa has been for generations.  You can explain that: "the Christmas Gargoyle must have sent the gift by UPS, let's see if it arrives on Monday."  Children will learn patience and gratitude, the wonder of Christmas might be extended for a few days, and your failure to get your shopping done in time will be excused instead of causing the ruin of another holiday.  Santa doesn't leave room for human error.  He's magic, and gets all the deliveries done in a 31 hour span (if you allow for time zones), remember?  So how are you going to explain to your child that Santa brought all the gifts to all the good children in the world on time - except for hers?  Santa might be magical, but you aren't.  The Christmas Gargoyle lives in our world, and works with your limitations.

So if you're not quite tired of lying to your children about the holidays, but would prefer a lie that's more plausible, more hassle-free, and can come in handy year-around, then consider the Christmas Gargoyle.  It is exactly every bit as real as Santa.

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