Somewhat Controversial Post...
You've Been Warned
I have already mentioned that my family does the Santa Claus thing and I also said that if you don’t do the Santa Claus thing I totally respect that…and I do. As long as you aren’t being arrogant about it.
So last week I heard from a friend about some acquaintances of hers who don’t do Santa Claus. Their reason: they don’t want “lie” to their kids. I have a little bit of a problem with this, not because they aren’t doing it but because of their reasoning. I think it is so incredibly sanctimonious. Yes, I said SANCTIMONIOUS. How about you come down from your holier than thou parenting high horse and spend a little time in reality? The best part: they do the tooth fairy. Yes, that other fictitious character who apparently IS ok to “lie” about because she doesn’t live in the North Pole. Or MAYBE its because she doesn’t share a holiday with the celebration of the birth of Christ so THAT makes it ok to lie to their kids about.
If you’re going to be a pompous Christian then please, be forthcoming about it.
I know quite a few families who don’t do the Santa thing but their reasoning is they want the full focus to be on the birth of Jesus. Now that I can respect because it is a statement that isn’t filled with the implication that everyone else who is doing the Santa thing is going to hell or is a bad parent who is a lying sack of crap. Also, it isn’t a lie wrapped in self-righteous BS disguised as good parenting.
Santa Claus isn’t a lie; he’s a child’s developmentally appropriate suspension of disbelief and amazing, short-lived ability to make-believe. Children NEED fantasy. The American Psychological Association’s most recent findings on the topic show that children who are encouraged to play make-believe and indulge in fantasy actually have greater academic success in later years. A 2008 USAToday article actually claimed that make-believe and fantasy play were VITAL in a child’s development of empathy, learning, creativity and problem-solving allowing them to conquer their fears and explore their hopes and dreams.
And just in case those 2 sources are too pagan, then how about what Dr. James Dobson (whom I rarely agree with) wrote in a 2008 edition of his magazine Focus on the Family, “I understand the concerns expressed by many Christian parents about the pagan celebration of Christmas. They don’t want to link Santa Claus, a mythical figure, with the reality of the baby Jesus who was born in Bethlehem of Judea. They have good reason to fear that they might weaken the validity of the Christmas story by mixing it with fantasy.
“So this is the dilemma – Santa is fun, but Santa could be confusing...Shirley and I chose to play the “Santa game” with our kids, and we had no difficulties teaching them who Jesus was and is.
“What is best? I don’t know. But if I had to do it over, I would still let my children thrill to the excitement of Santa’s arrival down the chimney on Christmas Eve.”
I’m not trying to persuade anybody to do or not to do the Santa thing. I’m only saying that whatever reasoning you have please don’t be pious about it. You’re not impressing anyone and in fact you may be turning people off to your faith. And if you use the “not going to lie to my children” excuse then, for crying out loud, stick to it for everything. That includes the tooth fairy. And the next time your child wants to play doctor and asks you if you’re sick, I would really like it if you told him “no, and by the way you are not a doctor”. And when your daughter takes a Burger King straw and tries to use it as a magic wand I’d like you to interject a little reality in to her world and tell her there is no such thing as magic and please take that scarf off, it isn’t a pair of wings.