Dec 14

Perpetuating the Santa myth

Comments (5) by LoriD December 14, 2011 - 7:01 AM

It's Christmas. Here in Australia, that means swimming, sunburn, flies and barbeques. Jealous? You betcha you're jealous.

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas this year, for reasons I'm sure will become clear closer toward the date, as my mind begins to unravel more and more. In fact, I've decided to ignore it exists, as much as I can with two small, very excited children. That's not a lot. But I'm working on it.

One personification of the festive season that is harder to ignore than most is the Big Man in the Red Suit. You know the one... S. Claus. Mr Santa. An overweight, drunk driving, breaking and entering, judgmental fictional character.

He doesn't sound quite so appealing, described like that. But please don't misinterpret me here - I'm no Santa-hater, and I certainly don't discourage any belief in him. I remember, quite vividly, what Christmas was like as a kid. It was nothing short of magic.

At playgroup with my kids today, I happened into a discussion with a few other mums and caregivers about Santa Claus - not so much about our own children believing in Santa, but about how much we believed in the big man as children ourselves. Listening to one caregiver describing how Santa was never really encouraged by her parents because they considered it lying; and then another mum lamenting how she really had felt betrayed when she discovered that Santa and his elves were fiction; it got me thinking - is this whole Santa myth really lying? Cold deception? Will my children feel the weight of this when they're older, a fantasy constructed to confuse them?

And the answer I came up with? To be honest... I don't bloody know. I've well and truly made the decision to be honest with my children about all aspects of life, so much as I can. I have to be. Having lost their father so young, my kids are going to have a firmer grasp on the darker side of life earlier than most. That's unfortunate, but true. Is embellishing a myth of a fantasy man, and a fantasy place where toys are made; going to undermine the trust they have in me?

Maybe they should understand that presents come from parents. Maybe I should instill, as I've heard some parents do, that Santa doesn't make toys, and they are not free, and therefore some kids don't get them, and that's just tough cookies.

But deep down, I know myself well enough, even after the change the last twelve months has bought. I know that this isn't really a choice I need to make. Because if I did open my mouth to tell my children the awful, adult truth, no words would come out. Bursting bubbles, especially the rainbow fragile soap ones my children still get to hold... it's just not where I'm at.

It's Christmas, dammit. I may not enjoy it at all this year, but I'll make sure my kids do. If telling fibs about a fat guy sweating his bum off while he shimmies through our keyhole is what makes it magic... then by all means, bring it on.

by LoriD December 14, 2011 - 7:01 AM

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Comments (5)

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  • Report Thu Dec 15, 2011 - 3:14 am
    by  Sarah
    The Chop & Bump have had so so much reality in their tiny lives, I don't see how having something special & magical like Santa & his elves can hurt them. Do what you feel is right chickadee xxx
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  • Report Thu Dec 15, 2011 - 12:34 am
    Noone had to get counselling because of PTSD associated with being dispelled of the Santa myth. The commercialism of it all is pretty scary, but at its route it really is just a bit of fun. And the magic of Christmas as a child is just so amazing, I wouldn't mess with that. M2M
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  • Report Wed Dec 14, 2011 - 7:47 pm
    My parents never made a huge deal of it one way or the other. However, I remember one magical Christmas when I was 5, and the neighborhood had a big party at one person's house. While we (and all the other kids on the block) were there, my teenaged aunt and her friends went to everyone's houses and put all the presents under the trees...Santa Came During The Party! I sure believed in him that year, and remember it very fondly, even after learning the real truth. With our own kids, my husband spent time assembling and setting out, after the boys were in bed, and even now that they are adults, they remember the excitement of thinking Santa had come and finding cool stuff set out for them. If they're warped, its not because of that.
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  • Report Wed Dec 14, 2011 - 7:43 pm
    by  Annia Lindsay
    Santa Claus, Father Christmas, St Nick - his ancestry goes back to 270AD. The current uniform of red suit and black boots was designed by Louis Prang in 1885 - long before the Coca Cola ad in 1931. (Sorry, but I wrote a magazine article on this a couple of years ago and did my research!) Personally I think kids can enjoy the myth because any intelligent child begins to work out that the logistics are not supportable by the age of 5 or 6. I never heard of any harm coming to a young child who believed! When my 5 year old began to wonder and demanded I tell her the truth, I hedged, and said 'what do you think?' She wasn't going to admit that she knew it couldn't be true and said 'Well I think he might be real.' By the following year she colluded in the myth quite happily.
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  • Report Wed Dec 14, 2011 - 5:04 pm
    That fat dude that is Santa was invented by Cocaa Cola - the power of marketing. Fuck telling the kids the truth - I grew up with truth and I have decided that I am going to protect my kids. They couldn't hadnle the truth - they have got their whole adult lives to find out what the truth is - my job is to give them a great childhood and prepare them for the life battle as robustly as possible. Chin up chicken - you will be Oz for Xmas that is fricking marvellous and I am very jealous - we did Christmas in Freemantle 5 years ago and it was brilliant!
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