This December, I have been battling Santa Claus in my brain. The same jolly old fat man who brings such joy to millions, brings me only a sleighful of frustration this year.
Much to the dismay of my family members, I have been considering the idea of not playing the "Santa Charade" with my daughter. I know, I know... but just hear me out...
The entire ordeal is a lie. That's it. You can rationalize it all you want. Tell me it's not really lying. Tell me that Santa is the *magic* of Christmas. But, no matter how you look at it, it is still lying. Sorry. I don't know how I can preach honesty while telling my child that an idea as silly as Santa is truth.
I've always thought that Christmas could be magical without the lying. We can still pretend that Santa is coming. But would it totally kill the joy if she knows--up front--that we are just pretending? Kids are great pretenders! A child can be a princess, a doctor, and then a cowgirl, all in one afternoon. And deep down, she understands that she isn't really a cowgirl; but for a brief moment in time, she is totally content with just pretending.
My main hangup with the whole Santa Conspiracy is partially due to personal experience. I was an only child, so in many ways my parents were also my peers. So when they preached the value of honesty, I assumed it was a two-way street. When my friends began telling me that Santa was a just a big story, I defended my parents' honor. They would never lie to me! We always tell the truth!
When mom finally did tell me the truth, I was devastated. Not because Santa wasn't real. Not because my toys didn't come from the North Pole. But because it was a big joke. I'd been had! And to top it all off, I defended the liars to my friends... Maybe it was because I had no siblings to share the experience. I felt singled out. I pictured my parents sneaking around the house, eating the cookies, putting on a big show. All so they could "see the look on my face" when I believed the hoax.
And what else did they lie about? The Tooth Fairy? The Easter Bunny? Jesus? How could I be sure that Jesus was even real? Well, if praying was anywhere near as affective as writing a letter to Santa, I wasn't going to bother with that. And that is the main reason that I loathe the Santa Conspiracy. It shook my faith. I struggled with my belief for years after this. How old would I have to be before they finally told me that He was a "story" too?
I understand that Santa, obviously, cannot compare with the One who died for our sins. This is very true... in the adult world. But in a child's world, in an American child's world, the two are very close in running. The only major difference that a small child can truly understand is that we only worry about Santa's judgement at Christmas time.
So please, shed some light on this for me. How did you feel as a child? How have your children felt?
To believe, or not to believe...