I’ve had some interesting discussions with my wife lately about the whole Santa Claus thing— whether or not to tell your children that there is a magical guy that flies around once a year, bouncing from rooftop to rooftop, sneaking into people’s houses via chimney and WD-40.
This article is from a Christian perspective; as a Christian I tend towards thinking the whole Santa thing is a bad idea to begin with. I know that makes me a big fat killjoy (it wouldn’t be the first time), but the reason has nothing to do with a sense that Santa is not the “reason for the season” or distracts from Jesus….
My main issue is teaching a child that something is real, and then saying it’s not. The guy in the article argues that teaching about mystery is good for children— I agree; it’s good for adults too. But when the jig is finally up, and Santa is exposed as a fraud, how then do we treat the mysterious in our world? As a fraud, I would expect! We learn to mistrust the fanciful and wondrous (especially when those in authority purport those ideas) and that keeps us from either accepting the possibility of spirituality at all, or we make religion into doctrines and dogmas, because, well, there’s no mystery in that.
Oh yeah, the marketing kills me, too… how we spend 140 billion on Christmas EVERY YEAR, when even just a fraction of that amount could end world hunger/poverty/lack of clean water/lack of education/treatments/etc.etc.etc…..
Santa was supposed to teach us about the spirit of giving, and now he’s a marketing tool, invoking nostalgia for more innocent times… such as, back when we believed in Santa…the magical and mysterious…
Maybe we can find a way to teach our children about giving and love in another way during the holiday season, and instead find ways to invoke real mystery and awe in our everyday lives, throughout the year.