A couple days after Christmas, my friend Amanda and I were traveling in my car, warm drinks in hand. It was cold and rainy out, so we had bravely ventured out to get Starbucks. And then a thing happened.
As we were driving across the bridge to get home, a truck heading straight toward us suddenly made an illegal U-turn and raced back the way it came.
We had nearly been killed.
Actually, the truck had been pretty far ahead and in no way endangered us, but I became really annoyed at this flagrant disregard of logical bridge rules. It was anti-Christmas-season behavior. I found myself shaking my fist at him and shouting, “SANTA’S WATCHING, YOU IDIOT!”
Accustomed to my outbursts, Amanda hesitated only briefly before adding, “It’s a little late for this year, BUT HE’LL REMEMBER NEXT YEAR!”
It was that moment when we decided there should be some sort of punishment or consequence for people who start misbehaving so soon after Christmas. It just doesn’t make sense for all of us to amp up our kindness and generosity in the last couple months of the year, only to begin acting like total twits as soon as the presents have been opened.
And that’s how we came up with the idea of a Santa “gremlin.”
Let’s face it, there’s no way the real Santa truly watches us all year long. After he finishes delivering all of the presents, he most likely heads for the nearest beach and collapses into a cookies-and-milk coma for awhile. It’s understandable that he needs a little break. And that’s where Santa Gremlin, if he really existed, would come in.
For an entire month following Christmas, the gremlin would be the one to watch our words and behaviors. If we follow the rules and treat others with respect for the whole month, then we get to keep all of the video games, sweaters, and fuzzy slippers that we received. But if we turn into jerkfaces and cut in line at the grocery store, Santa Gremlin will hunt you down and take all of your glorious new gifts away.
Brother and sister won’t stop fighting over toys? So long, toys!
Bratty teenager mean to nice old lady? Sayonara, designer jeans!
Dude in a new truck makes crappy bridge-driving decision? Adios, truck!
We soon decided that our gremlin deserved his own unique name – something that would truly set him apart from the jolly fat guy. Naturally, we settled on “Dickhole.” A bit vulgar perhaps, but I like that it’s short and to the point. (Cough, cough.) Besides, I think we can all agree that it’s the best and most accurate name for a creature that steals presents.
I haven’t quite worked out the fine details of Dickhole’s “story” yet. Maybe instead of riding in a sleigh pulled by eight magic reindeer, he rides on a trash-can lid dragged by thirteen pissed-off possum. Maybe instead of gliding gracefully down the chimney, Dickhole barges through the front door and tracks mud onto your clean carpet.
However, Dickhole really shouldn’t be thought of as a “bad guy,” per se. After all, he doesn’t take things away from honest, well-mannered people. If you remember anything from your Intro to Psych class in college, you might think of Santa Claus as being a symbol of positive reinforcement, while Dickhole represents negative punishment. In other words, while Santa Claus gives rewards in order to increase good behavior, the gremlin takes away things in order to decrease bad behavior.
Dickhole’s just misunderstood, is all. He really is a stand-up guy. (Ahem.)
But you still better watch out, because:
He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He’ll know if you’ve been a big asswipe, and then he’ll take your stuff away.