We actually had exactly that discussion last night, fueled by quite a number of wine bottles.
I was just about the only one who thought that lying to our children about Santa was something that we, in fact, should absolutely NOT do. I actually
found the perfect example of why I hate the idea of telling my hypothetical children that Santa exists in The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen, who else
). When his son asks about how Santa can get from house to house in such a short time despite logical flaws with the story, and how his reindeer
can fly, Tim Allen replies "That's just how he gets around. Sometimes believing in something means that you just believe."
Bam. Couldn't have explained the problem I have with "The Santa Myth" (and organized religion any better). Instead of letting children question the
nature of things and encouraging rational thought and skepticism, more and more elaborate lies are created to keep up a false image.
Apart from the "faith"-based problems I have with Santa Clause, I think that modern-day Santa is the worst possible personification of Christmas.
Christmas should be about spending time with your loved ones, taking a break from day-to-day stress and just enjoying life as it is. Instead of
focusing on this, we perpetuate a myth about an old man who runs a sweatshop filled with generations of workers who were bred to work 364 days a year,
who never experienced life outside of the factory, and who can reduce a child's entire character and personality over the course of one year to
"good" or "bad." Great. Let's make Christmas about materialistic gifts.
Don't get me wrong - I have no problem with telling children about "the story" behind Santa Claus or St. Nicholas. I grew up with the story, too. I
also grew up with the story of the tooth fairy. As much as my parents are conservative-leaning Catholics, they never shoved any beliefs or "facts"
in my face. they maintained that it (whether it's Santa, Jesus, the Tooth Fairy) is just a story, that doesn't have to be true, that simply
stands for something
What I think many people falsely believe is that by calling something a
story and not the
true, factual story, you take away the magic.
To quote most of my friends last night "Santa is about the magic, it makes it nice for kids. Without Santa, it wouldn't be magical. By not making
them believe in Santa Clause, you ruin their Christmas."
How can you even say that? how dare you say that Christmas isn't "magical" without Christmas"? Christmas is "magical" because of the relaxed and
intimate atmosphere, special food and drinks, spending time with your family... and fancy mood-lighting.
How is that not enough? Why do some people
believe that you need to make up a character that makes it more
magical, regardless of how illogical and false it is?
enough? All this