I am writing this article in the spirit that there are not that many people under the age of 8, if any, reading this.
Let’s talk about Santa Claus, a/k/a Santa, Santy, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Sinter Klaas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or whatever name you call him.
Santa is a legendary figure of Western culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children during the late night of Christmas Eve and early morning of Christmas day (December 24-25). The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra, the British figure of Father Christmas, the Dutch figure of Sinter Klaas, and the German figure of the Christ-kind.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man—sometimes with glasses—wearing a red suit trimmed with white fur, and black leather belt and boots who carries a bag full of gifts for children.
Santa Claus is said to make lists of children throughout the world and checks them twice for accuracy, categorizing them according to their behavior whether naughty or nice. The nice children get a toy from Santa’s workshop built or approved by the elves, and the naughty get a lump of the dreaded coal in their stocking. He delivers the toys by filling a magical bag loaded on the back of a sleigh and pulled by flying reindeer originating from the frigid and uninhabitable North Pole. He lands on the roof and comes down the fireplace. “What? I don’t have a fireplace.” Details, details, details. Oh and, he loves cookies and milk for himself, and carrots for the mystical animals. He’s fat, sure, but who cares, and he perpetuates the “I’m happy as can be” persona the world over through his boisterous HO HO HO laugh!
Okay, I am with you so far. Nothing sounds out of the ordinary or unbelievable about this story so far. Wait, what did I just say? The whole dang thing is extraordinary and completely unbelievable! Un-be-lieve-a-ble!!!
I see how the story is fantastical beyond borders, but who would ever go along with it? After all, it’s so laughable, right? Well, truth be told, just about everyone has, does, and continues to go along with it. It appears that fact alone may just be the most unbelievable part of the whole thing.
We tell our children this sweet story to get them excited about Christmas and the magic of the season and the anticipation of giving and receiving presents. We stand in a never-ending line at the mall to have an opportunity to sit our sweet innocent children on the lap of a man pretending to be Santa with fake whiskers who none of us really know and may actually have a checkered past. “Here, take my sweet sweet baby, Mr. Stranger Danger, and hold them on your lap and give them candy; and now sweet child, tell Santa what you want for Christmas.” Throw caution to the wind and let them ask for a $500 game system or $150 pair of athletic shoes and come away grateful if it’s something we can afford. And how about the kid who gets 5 expensive things from Santa, and then the one who gets maybe a $12 basketball and a pair of socks. “Hey, why does Santa like them better?!” Then we tell them to look at the giant elf dressed in green with the pointed hat and crazy shoes behind the camera and smile. Who isn’t disappointed if their kid doesn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, or have their picture taken, or God forbid — cries. “You’re ruining the whole experience!” Then there’s the posting of the pictures on Facebook for all our friends to click ‘like’ and ‘love’. How more precious can it get? It’s the perfect Christmas experience, y’all. Memories to be pulled out of a box every year for the rest of your gal-darned life. “Yah, yah, Mom, I simply loved that velvet dress and patent-leather shoes.” Oh in case you weren’t aware, we dressed up for our annual snowy Midwest pilrimage in the cold to see Santa Claus.
Hey, I did it too. Sisters, kids, grandkids, et al. The Santa myth is out there, and it is the most well-kept community secret of all times. We’re all keenly aware of the reverence of the Santa story. We know it’s a big lie but we all still willingly go along with it. If anyone slips up and says anything about there being no Santa in front of a believing youngster it is a fate worse than death. “HOW DARE YOU!” But we all know it’s a huge darned lie. One of the biggest ever told. But it’s so fun, who cares?
Well, I’ll tell you who cares. The 7-year old who finds out he/she has been lied to over and over through a conspiracy bigger than anyone could ever conceive possible by the people they are supposed to trust the most in this world. A big fat lie. he word is out, the myth ends here. Nope. We tell our precious impressionable children to not breathe a word of this to anyone, it’s just our secret. A lie AND a secret! Now that we know, we’re told to keep lying to our younger siblings, friends, and schoolmates. The word is out, the myth ends here. Nope. We tell our precious impressionable children to not breathe a word of this to anyone, it’s just our secret. A lie AND a secret! And the tradition is set to continue for eternity. The big dumb fabulously insane over-the-top lie that everyone seems to have adopted. Nothing else in our world gets that kind of consensus devoted following.
One thing I know for certain, however, is some folks keep the Santa myth going on for far far too long. I would think by the time you are 8 the jig is up. Just because you don’t want to give up the dream of putting one over on your children, doesn’t mean you should. What’s the harm? Believe me, there’s harm whether you are willing to admit it or not. Since there is no right or wrong way to tell your kids or a rule about what age to do it, the icky factor goes up for each year they get older. I always told my kids that when you’re very very young, it is hard to get across the meaning of giving, faith, love, and the joy of Christmas. Santa represents the spirit of Christmas, and he is the best ambassador we have found to relay that message to our youngest population.
Santa, We love him! He’s the best idea to come out of the fantasy world yet… Sandy