The holidays are a busy time of year. I appreciated that I had officially arrived as an adult when the holidays became stressful for me. For most of my twenties, I legitimately had no idea what people were talking about when they referred to the holidays as hectic. This holiday season, I find myself (for the second year in a row) Christmas shopping solo, figuring out teacher gifts, and coordinating family travel and gifts.
That’s when I realized: Santa Claus must be a military spouse. Let’s think about what we know to be true about Santa: in songs, Mrs. Claus is mentioned rarely, if at all. I mean, if I were a mythical holiday icon, let’s be honest, my husband probably wouldn’t feature prominently in the songs about me. “Her husband was in Afghanistan” is kind of a downer when you’re trying to paint a seasonal mise-en-scène, and doesn’t really flow. Given her apparently absence, who’s to say Mrs. Claus isn’t in Afghanistan? Or Iraq? Or on a submarine somewhere?
“Okay,” you’re saying, rocking back in your chair, propping your feet up on the table, and folding your hands behind your head (I guess now you’re interviewing me or something?).
“Okay. But if Santa is a military spouse, why have they lived in the North Pole for centuries?” Well, first of all, I’d like to point out that not every military spouse PCS’s with their service member. A spouse who employs a lot of elves and houses many large, exotic beasts may find it is not in their best interest to pick up stakes every couple of years. Furthermore, don’t “PCS-shame” the Claus family! Not every military family moves the same amount. (And we all know that unicorn military spouse whose husband is retiring next month…and they’ve stayed at the same duty station his whole career.)
If you’re still not convinced that Santa Claus is a military spouse (he definitely is), I’d like to circle back to my earlier observation about the elves and reindeer. Like many of his fellow military spouses, Santa Claus works from home. He probably enjoys the flexibility of making his own hours and being available when Mrs. Claus is home on R&R. There is, of course, the added stress of managing all of his personnel and overseeing the reindeer’s maintenance. By December each year, Santa is stretched pretty thin, he’s overcommitted himself to a lot of people, and he’s doing it all on his own. Tell me if that doesn’t sound like a lot of military spouses you know. It certainly sounds familiar to me.
Santa, if you ever want to come over to talk holiday stress and have a glass of wine, I’m pretty sure you know where I live.
Posted by Maggie Phillips, military spouse and NMFA Volunteer