I hated Santa when I was that age, too. Why do people do that to their kids? Just skip that developmental stage when Santa freaks the kids out; resume the annoying holiday snapshot opportunity when they're a year older and better able to visualize the sugarplums.
Kids are supposed to mistrust strangers -- especially strange men in the mall who offer to take your picture and give you candy. And want you to sit on their laps. Ewww.
Yesterday in the rain I looked up at the tree shielding me from the deluge as I scurried across the parking lot. A pin oak. Its branches were graceful, its leaves beautifully displayed in silhouette against the opaque sky. I was struck in that instant by its beauty, which surprised me because I wasn't in one of those dreamy poetry-reading moods. It was as if I'd recently eaten some Amsterdam space cake or something. (Which I hadn't.) I thought, This tree is beautiful! Then I wondered whether the tree would be gratified in some way by my appreciation, if it could know about it -- assuming that there would be a way for trees to know things. Then I thought, maybe not, maybe visual appearance isn't a souce of pride to trees the way it would be for animals like us. Maybe they'd rather be praised for hardy pollen or something.