08 December 2007

To Santa or Not To Santa?

I don't have kids and probably won't for another few years. But this time of year I start wondering if I'll tell my future children that Santa is real. I'm all for the stories, legends, and mythology surrounding Santa. I'm all for the magic of Christmas. I'm all for The Grinch, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Ralphie, and a Grizzwald Family Christmas. But I'm of the mind that Santa coming down the chimney is a fun game of pretend and not reality. Does this one little thing make me a no-fun Christmas cynic?

Think about it. We're supposed to encourage and inspire children's imaginations. But then we throw in this one story and let them be convinced it's real. Letters to Santa. Sitting on Santa's lap. Cookies for Santa. Where do you draw the line? Does it encourage consumerism and gift-grabbiness in kids rather than magic and the spirit of Christmas?

How do you Christmas-celebrating parents handle it?

I wasn't exactly traumatized by finding out Santa wasn't real. At least, I don't remember being traumatized. I only remember sitting on Santa's lap maybe two times as a kid and every time I knew it was a guy in a costume. And I was shy with strangers. I didn't scream; in fact, I couldn't talk. It's weird. You're supposed to stay away and not talk to strangers, but once a year you get plunked down on some guy's lap and you're expected to tell him your secret desires--what you want for Christmas. And you do it because everybody else is doing it.

There's a lot of public pressure to believe in Santa. Even if you don't watch TV and thus miss all the commercials, Santa is still everywhere. On the radio, on billboards, online, in magazines and newspapers. It seems like Santa is the symbol of asking for gifts now rather than giving them. That's sad.


Natural said...

The truth works. I don't see what Santa has to do with CHRISTmas. The holiday has become very commercial and if we are supposed to be celebrating Christ birth, where is Christ in Christmas?

Stephanie said...

The truth is good. I'm not a Christian, so Santa folklore fits into my celebration of the holiday.


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