The 9th Day of Christmas Anime: Usagi Drop
Episode 3.5: “To Santa”
Usagi Drop is one of my very favorite series, but my last taste of it was the conclusion to the manga, which I found lacking (to put it mildly). So it was refreshing to watch this Christmas episode, a six-minute piece that was part of one of the DVD releases.
In the short, Daikichi prepares for Christmas by explaining the ins and outs of Santa Claus. I was surprised at how the legend has translated to Japan – chimneys, letters, cookies, reindeer, and all. Some of these traditions are European in origin and others North American. Rin’s carrot for the reindeer, I’ve discovered, is actually a tradition from English-speaking countries.
More closely to home, though, the episode reminded me of how I’m raising my children. Before kids, I was pretty vehemently against telling them about Santa. I didn’t like the idea of lying to them, and I remember how hurt I was when I found out the truth about the big man. But once I had children, my attitude did a 180, and it became a no-brainer to continue the
There’s certainly a warmth to Santa that perhaps starts with the toys, but expands beyond that. He is grandfatherly and kind, and store Santas do a wonderful job of propagating this aura. For instance, the Santa we took our kids to see held their hands and was patient in listening to their mumbled requests (Legos for him; Squinkies and a dog for her).
It’s true that he overshadows Jesus as a whole during the holidays, but your Christmas is what you make it, and you can add that sense of solemness and remembrance to your family’s celebration. And in these troubled times (I just simply can’t get Sandy Hook off my mind), a fat man in a red suit brings a sense of warm security – in the eyes of the hurting, the orphaned, and so many others, including our own.
P.S. The Usagi Drop DVD collection looks wonderful and would make a great present…for me. Hint hint.