It’s almost Christmas. And that has me thinking about all the traditions that surround Christmas: hanging giant socks by our fireplaces, sharing passionate kisses under a poisonous weed, or the strange holiday characters. Most of these fictional people have absolutely no relevance to the holiday they represent.
But as little as a flying, bearded fat man has to do with the birth of Jesus, I’ve never really had a problem with Santa Claus. He’s a fun myth, he embodies kindness and giving, and his legend is actually based in reality.
I just can’t bring myself to find anything wrong with ol’ Saint Nick. Not when there’s a far stranger and more disturbing holiday mascot running around: the Easter Bunny.
My first concern is the vagueness of the Easter Bunny’s exact form. Santa is easy to picture. He’s an obese, bearded, elderly man in an old-school snow suit that looks like it was died with the blood of a thousand ferrets. The Easter Bunny is usually depicted as a cartoon. So what does he look like in real life? Is he just a super-intelligent, talking rabbit wearing clothes, like something out of Babe or Homeward Bound?
Or is he a five-foot tall, biped, mutant freak with humanoid hands? When portrayed in cartoon form, the Easter Bunny is usually a human-sized rabbit with realistic arms and legs, similar to Bugs Bunny. I love Bugs Bunny, but there’s a reason he’s a cartoon. Would you want a giant, malformed rabbit in a festive vest and bow tie sneaking into your house at night? Rest assured, that image has made me wet the bed on more than one occasion.
Then there’s the legend itself. The myth of Santa Claus provides answers to all the questions you’d naturally ask the first time you hear it. Where does Santa get enough toys for all the children in the world? He has a workshop manned by a legion of elves who spend all year making toys. How does he visit all the houses in the world in one night? He rides in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. How does he get into kids’ houses when all the doors are locked? He goes down the chimney. These justifications are flimsy, but at least we’re given some explanation.
But where exactly does the Easter Bunny come from? No explanation. Where does he get all those eggs? We don’t know. How does he travel to everyone’s house in one night? We don’t have to explain! Stop asking questions! All the secrecy surrounding the Easter Bunny has me suspicious. On one particular dark, fog-laden night when I was six, I could’ve sworn I spotted the Easter Bunny standing in a dark alley with his Columbian drug-running pals trading unmarked paper packages for colorful eggs. I don’t even want to imagine what you’d have to do to a chicken to get it to lay brightly-colored eggs.
And that’s the third thing I just don’t understand about the Easter Bunny. It’s perfectly reasonable that Santa would bring kids toys. Kids love toys. Toys are one of about five topics that occupy 85% of a kids’ thought life. But eggs? Why eggs?
Nowadays, people give kids those colored, plastic eggs filled with candy, but decades ago, kids got real hard-boiled eggs. Has any kid in history ever said to his mother “Mommy, you know what I’d like more than anything in the world? Eggs. Just like the ones we eat for breakfast every morning. And scatter them all over the yard so I have to spend half the day looking for them.”
Yeah. Eggs. Way better than the Son of God rising from the dead.
Now, I know I may seem pretty cynical, but I’m not completely heartless. I do understand that the Easter Bunny is a beloved tradition in many families. The legend of a massive, bipedal rodent sneaking into their houses and leaving them objects that come out of chickens’ butts makes a lot of kids happy, and it really isn’t my place to take that away.
I guess, in the end, I have no right to complain about the Easter Bunny.
On an unrelated subject, does anyone know where I can buy some giant rabbit-sized bear traps?