Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sitting on Santa's Lap

My memory of sitting on Santa's lap was one of always trying to hide the fact that I bit my fingernails. In going through some old albums in my basement, I now have proof of this.

My mother tried every trick in the book to get me to stop biting my nails, including bribes, threats, vinegar, you name it. My father, on the other hand, said he bit his nails until he was 29 and then just stopped, so he wasn't too worried.

Every year around Christmas time as we got ready to go see Santa, my mother would mention how much Santa hated nailbiting. I didn't learn the truth about Santa Claus until I was 9 years old so I was still very intimidated as I sat on the one-and-only Santa's lap.

In the above picture I was probably 4 or 5 years old. It was the era of the doubled-under braids so that was about right. I'm sure I asked for a doll and dollclothes as I sat there with my fists clenched so as not to expose my ragged little fingernails.

I'm sure I got the doll and dollclothes and attributed my good fortune to my trip to see Santa. I never got the sense that he really held my nailbiting against me.

Now as I cut my nails short to play the piano, I sometimes remember those days when there was nothing to cut. And seeing Santa in a mall always brings back my yearly trip to Sears or Penneys or wherever Santa happened to be taking requests that year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, did you ever stop biting your nails and what stopped you?

First time I sat on the lap of an aspiring-magician, store-Santa, he pulled a lollipop from my nose! I refused to eat it and was wary of store Santas ever after :)

5:09 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I have stopped and started biting my nails several times of my own volition. The latest time was when I got braces on my teeth as an adult. It was just not possible to bite my nails with all that metal on my teeth and the thought of making my teeth crooked and therefore needing braces again has been enough to deter me forever!

5:20 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

It's funny how those old associations stick with us! Just like Pavlov's dog, you start clenching your fists when you see a Santa! I start makin' my list!

11:16 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm a nailbiter. I cannot help it. I go through stages of long, lovely nails and short raggedy ones but I'm pretty sure that nobody ever tried to stop me. Santa definitely did not get pulled into the equation. I wonder if it would have worked... (Love the pic.)

9:59 AM  

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