Christmas Blog Party: The HubbO Edition

Hello readers! I am Wonju wife's Hubbo, Kenny. I seldom write comments here but I must tell you that I am one of the frequent (but quiet) visitors, and one of the most dedicated mental supporters of this blog. I come here mainly to check how many pieces of cake she got from the recent blog post, because it determines the size of the smile today, not only for Wonju Wife but also for me. Whenever you guys leave lots of comments, she gets really excited like a puppy in the snow. She dances in the kitchen, rolls her body on the floor, plays drums on her belly, and lays a cutest fart on me as a finale. I laugh with her and I become happy too. So remember! You can bring incredible cheer to our little family with your little finger movement.
Now it's time for the Christmas party! I am going to tell you my Santa spoiler story.

Basically Koreans do not have a long history of the Christmas tradition although we have over 100 years of Christian history. Of course, now we have a big Christmas business and all the department stores are competing like crazy to show how much money they can possibly waste on the lighting decorations. But still it is really hard to say that we have a Christmas tradition for families.

In my father's time, Christmas was just one of the cold days. Free rice cakes or sugar candies from the town church were only things you could associate with the night of Christmas Eve. Besides, to get that treat, you should be a church-goer, or if not, you should promise that you will come to church every week. My dad never got Santa's presents, and although my mom received some Christmas gifts because my mom's father was a pastor, they weren't from Santa. They didn't know about Santa or simply couldn't afford to have him around.

When I was a kid, winter was always harsh for my mom. Struggling with my dad's humble salary, she could barely afford to buy the coal briquettes to heat the house and the cabbages to make winter kimchi. My mom, however, tried hard to give us some 'Christmas' in the western manner. She cut the wiggly pine tree branches from the forest on the small hill near my house. She decorated with cotton snow, some bells and balls, but no lights. For Christmas dinner, she put palm size choco pies with candles on the table while we ate seaweed soup and rice. At night she snuck into my and my sister's room and put our gifts next to our pillows. They were really practical, stuff like socks and pencils which she needed to buy for us anyway, but it worked. My sister and I were thrilled to find the surprise in the morning.

She was missing something, though. Santa. She didn't care much about Santa, or she didn't know how to play Santa since she never met the man. Now I think I didn't care either then. I of course knew about Santa, and I kind of believed in him. But he was just in my prayers, like God, not in real life.

However, one card from Santa changed everything.

I think I was nine or ten. On Christmas Eve, I pretended to sleep, waiting for my mom to come into my room. I knew she would put some gift on my pillow before she went to bed and I just wanted to see her do that. I heard the carol choir singing and my mom and my dad talking with the carolers and giggling, and I waited and waited.

I woke up in the morning and found a gift box on my pillow as usual, but this time with a card.
즐거운 성탄절!
산타클로스로부터‘ (To Kenny, Merry Christmas, from Santa Clause)

It was a belt with a buckle that had the picture of flying Astro Boy in the middle. Astro Boy was the most popular animation character then, and immediately I knew I was going to be the coolest boy in my apartment. And the card! Oh my god! I got a gift from Santa! I couldn't believe my eyes. I hoorayed and took the card to my parents to show it off. Wait a minute. Did my mom do this? Better ask.

"Mom I got a gift from Santa! It says Santa here!...did you do this?"

"No, it says 'from Santa.' Then it's from Santa, not me, isn' it?" Mom said.

"Dad, did you do this?"

"No, why would I? I'm not Santa. I'm your dad, aren't I?"

"Yeah, you are right," I grinned.

I went out to the play ground, and I opened my coat so everyone could see my awesome belt from Santa. The kids were playing with glass beads on the frozen sand. They were too busy to notice my new belt from Santa. So, I had to announce properly that I got my Astro Boy belt and that it was officially sent from Santa.

The kids saw my belt in astonishment and seemed pretty impressed. But Un Gyum, the boy who always hung out with younger kids to boss around them, sneered at me. "Hey dummy! There's no such thing as Santa. Do you still believe in Santa like a baby? The gifts from Santa are actually from your parents, you idiot. "

Huh! I was angry to hear that, but at the same time, I felt sorry for him. Probably he never received a gift from the real Santa.
"You know what? Actually I thought the same thing, so I asked my parents directly about it. They said they didn't do it. They didn't doooo it. Hello?"

"Then your parents are lying," the jerk said.

Then one of the kids (I think it was Suk Hyun) there helped me.
"His father is a pastor. Pastors cannot lie. It is illegal!" All the kid there nodded their agreement and I sensed my victory.

"My parents are not liars. Santa is real. I bet my life on it." I ended this argument showing my absolute conviction of the ultimate truth.

I happily lived for a while like a normal boy who believed in Santa. But it didn't last very long. I think it was around March when I was crying for a new school bag. My mom said 'NO'. I was sad and angry, because I really wanted to have a new bag. My birthday was coming, so I thought I should get it. So I whined, complaining to my mom.
"You never buy me anything. You never care about what I want!"

"Really? I don't buy anything for you? What is that you are wearing now? Where did you get your shoes? I bought them for your New Years present. What about your Astro Boy belt? I bought it for your Christmas present. What about all the stuff in your room..........."

Astro Boy belt for Christmas? So it was my mom and not Santa. The world got white. I couldn't hear anything. Because I bet my life on that guy.

I lost my real Santa then. But my mom kept doing her own Christmas ritual. Every Christmas morning I woke up and found a wrapped gift sitting on my pillow. I knew it was Mom, fake Santa. The strange thing was that I kept waiting for fake Santa. I think I am still waiting.

Kenny writes about his life, his wife, and his art (in Korean) at The Awesome Plan. He has been listening to Danielle talk since October 2006. And he should get some kind of award for that.
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