(and a swearer — proceed with caution as to not get vitriol all over your nice shirt)
This month’s “Real Simple” has in it’s “Modern Manners — Life Lessons” feature a question regarding a child being told by a neighbor kid there is no Santa and what should the mom do. You’d think the answer would be a very simple telling of the truth. Instead it was a full paged defense of “saving Christmas” for the your child who is going through a skeptical stage.
(CUE INCREDIBLY STUNNED FACE)
Are you fucking kidding me?
Look, I realize that I’m a bit more hard-core than most, and that at almost 45 my life experience is longer than most. However, in our accelerated we can’t wait for our children to do and experience every adult thing imaginable even if it’s not appropriate I cannot fathom HOW or even WHY being honest about Santa would not be in that mix? I mean, HELLO, your child has a TV in his room, makes pot pipes from school supplies, isn’t honest with you about his homework, lies, cheats, steals, and plays World of Warcraft into the late hours of the night while sexting with other 12 years olds, plus FB messaging/Im-ing all day on his smart phone, but HE STILL BELIEVES IN SANTA CLAUS AND YOU ENCOURAGE IT.
Hell to the fucking no.
On one hand it’s all grow-up, grow-up, grow-up in terms of all the goodies, but it’s be a child in terms of responsibility. Then there’s definitely the “don’t lose your innocence” of having the truth about Santa out there. What a fucked up, ignorant-ass message to give to a kid. Where are your boundaries as a parent? I’m serious! Where?
The fact is, Santa is MADE UP. There I said it. I’m not saying that the spirit in which we observe this made up symbol is harmful or bad, it’s quite nice and gives people a good feeling. However, to promote the belief in Santa because it makes you feel better is sick. To promote Santa because it allows you to control your child with his or her love of materials goods is REALLY sick. To perpetuate a lie, for whatever reason, once a child is old enough to know the truth and the “spirit” is fucked-up sick. This isn’t about your kid anymore, it’s about you. Get some therapy.
The fact is many people don’t believe in Santa for religious reasons. No Muslim or Jewish child is setting out stockings. For that matter, I don’t think many fundamentalist Christian churches emphasize Santa as well. It’s going to happen that your child will run across someone with a different frame of reference. Your child will, at some point, realize that Santa signs his name exactly like his mom. Older kids, wanting to be mean, will tell your child.
Guess what? This is all normal.
What that parent should have been told was to share the story of St. Nicholas who was the model for Santa Claus, as well as Sinterclaus and other traditions that preceded Santa. The mother should have then shared that, while Santa himself is not real, people keep the spirit of Santa alive by performing good deeds, giving anonymous gifts to people in need, and by being polite, kind, and caring to others in the community. It could have been expanded to “deputizing” the child into the group of people who work in Santa’s name by performing these acts and not sharing the secret with children under 8, but by keeping the magic alive for them.
That makes sense. The whole “You should tell them you believe in Santa too!” because if we don’t believe in Santa well, we would be in deep trouble. Really? The whole “we take a pro-Santa stance of believing in magic” is just bullshit.
C’mon, grow up and let your child grow up too. Move the child from receiving to giving. Take part in the community collecting materials for people in need. Make sure they take part in church activities that emphasize the importance of people, not possessions.
DO NOT, HOWEVER, PERPETUATE A LIE SIMPLY BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER. To be honest, that’s just wrong. Morally and ethically wrong.