It's the biggest holiday of the year for most of us, a time of joy and celebration, and yet also a time of emotional anxiety - the mad rush of last minute shopping, frustration, frayed nerves, family conflict, obligation, and overeating.
We give because we want to feel a part of something. It dawns on me: unconsciously, I have been trying to keep my fragmented family together by gift giving. It may not be pretty but it is how clans, communities and enemies have survived for millennia.
Time stood still. The whole room was shocked, especially Santa, and he quickly made his exit. I heard my Dad talking to him outside before coming back in to deal with me. It was his best friend, a man who had always been wonderful to me. It was the end of innocence, and I was ashamed.