Until I had children, there was one dilemma of being in an all-woman relationship that simply hadn’t occurred to me: who gets to be Santa Claus?
Let’s skip the issue of his existence and go straight to the part where a parent dresses up in a red suit and fake beard and bellows a jolly laugh at their kids. Or at the very least eats the mince pie and drinks the glass of port or whiskey that their kids leave out on Christmas Eve. Traditionally Santa is, well, male. But in the absence of a male (of the adult variety) my partner and I had to choose who got to be Santa. To be clear, we primarily meant who got to dress up as Santa, our excavation of the Christmas decoration box having unearthed an old and slightly torn Santa outfit.
At first we considered drawing up a list of criteria and asking a friend to judge who met the most of them. Who had the ‘Santa Factor’ (if you will forgive the awful pop culture reference)? Best ‘ho ho ho’ (verdict – both pretty good), most rotund (definitely me), best mince pie eater (me), most prolific port (me) or whiskey (her) drinker.
But then we realised that there was a better approach. You see, at a trip to Santa’s Grotto a few weeks before Christmas we discovered A and R scream like banshees at the sight of Santa Claus. Their poor little faces were so screwed up with the effort of crying that only a swift exit and the provision of an early Christmas present could calm them down. (A minute later they were happily tying me up in their baby reins by toddling off in opposite directions, so the trauma was very short-lived.)
This taught us a valuable lesson. We weren’t dressing up as Santa for the boys; we were really doing it for ourselves, for the excitement of Christmas and the sheer delight of being silly. So it didn’t matter who wore the Santa outfit so long as we both enjoyed the simple fact that it was nearly Christmas. With that in mind my partner donned the suit and I opened the wine: a division of labour that we both considered to be a fine solution to the all-female Santa dilemma.