The Business Insider has a great — provocative, thought-provoking and flame-baity — piece up today about why indoctrinating your kids into this whole Santa myth thing is maybe a bad idea. It’s immoral! Selfish! Pointless!
I for one (not speaking for Fresh Air here, just yours truly) am inclined to agree.
The argument goes something like this: lying to children is bad.
You would think that this would be uncontroversial, somewhere between “Don’t punch old ladies” and “World peace is a good idea”, but there we are.
I have two kids, ages 2 and 5. I advanced this argument — gingerly — early on, before they were old enough to know any better. I lost decisively and quickly.
Look, I’m no Scrooge. I love the holidays and (almost) all they entail. And. I understand there’s always some jerky kid at the playground, ruining it for everyone by crowing that “Santa isn’t real” to the little believers. That’s no good. But why infuse their heads with these lies in the first place, only to be let down in the long run? I mean, as parents, aren’t we just needlessly messing with them?
You may now commence to calling me horrible names.
My parents went all out (making fake reindeer footsteps on the roof of our garage, nibbling down the cookies and milk, writing a letter from the elves, etc.) and we turned out fine. When you’re a little kid there are loads of mythical creatures around (monsters, the easter bunny, ghosts, the tooth fairy) and eventually as you grow up you realize these things aren’t real. Then you’re older and believe in different stuff that isn’t real, such as Christianity (kidding…sort of).
I never remembered any one point where I was crushed to find out santa and those other characters weren’t real, it was a gradual process and I always carried a sense of skepticism regarding the whole thing anyway. The author claims that parents spread the Christmas myth for their own benefit, and that’s just silly. I guarantee my father didn’t enjoy getting on the roof at 4 am in the Minnesota winter to put fake footprints in the snow for his own amusement.
The point is there’s part of childhood that’s magical and fun, and santa is part of that magic. The author obviously forgot what it was like to be a kid, or he was the dickhead on the playground telling everyone that santa wasn’t real.