[Warning, Santa spoilers to come.]
Our family is at the end of an era, or at least the beginning of the end. Our older child, a third-grader, confessed to me that she knows there is no Santa Claus. She seemed fine with the truth, and I was happy to be done with the charade. Personally, I hate Santa Claus. Correction: I'm fine with Santa Claus the character, just like I'm fine with Superman, Scooby-Doo, and maybe SpongeBob SquarePants. What I hate is the legal fiction of "believing in Santa Claus." I would be happy to have a mascot for Christmas, one who embodies everything that's good, wholesome and selfless about Christmas, but why should we all pretend that this mascot is real?
I'm a religious person, and I believe a lot of things one can only classify as "supernatural" or "beyond scientific fact." Because I do have religious beliefs, I like to police the boundary of things that I tell others I "believe." I hope to instill my true beliefs in my children, but I think that goal is subverted when before my child is eight years old, she finds out that I lied to her about Santa, the tooth fairy, etc. We have tried to keep the imaginary creature belief systems out of our house (Easter Bunny, St. Nick, whatever that is). I would prefer to tell her that I believe in the power of the resurrection, but I don't believe that a bunny in a plaid vest leaves us plastic eggs and candy. I believe in latter-day miracles, but I don't believe that an ageless chubby man can alter the laws of physics by delivering presents to every child in the world in one evening. I believe that God hears us when we pray, but I don't believe that the man on the other end of the 1-800 number. . . .well, you get the picture.
What I hate especially about this Santa religion is that in the movies, if you don't believe in Santa, you're either evil or misguided. You're a robotic, cynical, frigid single mom who works at Macy's or maybe the really evil neighbor next door who hates kids. No one is ever depicted as loving, selfless, idealistic and altruistic who does not believe in Santa. What I want to see is the made-for-TV movie about the third-grader who realizes that there is no Santa but finally realizes the true meaning of Christmas and is a better person for it. I realize the merchandising tie-ins will be small, but just maybe. . . .
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1. Posted by Chris Lizon on December 22, 2006 @ 17:36 | Permalink
Could it be that Santa is simply an excuse to let those who don't know how to accept their beliefs in Christ, enjoy Christmas. St. Nicholas is celebrated in the catholic church early in December, many cultures give children treats, toys, candies, etc. However, Santa, merry old St. Nick? is allowed to be included in Christmas celebrations.
Maybe people are lazy and don't want to celebrate two days, or maybe they don't know what they are celebrating. With the world becoming politically correct, allowing Christmas to remove an entirely Jesus image, the world of nonbelievers can celebrate too. All those non Catholics who don't idolize saints can also join in the fun again. Could Santa simply be an excuse for something bigger that society is searching for? Most people today have lost faith but they still will come together to a day that has its historical roots in all that they denounce.
Maybe the question shouldn't be "why do we keep these lies?" but rather what purpose do these lies serve, what void in our souls do these imaginary figures fill? Only then can we understand how to remove the commercial world from our hearts and replace it with our faith. We should learn to have a right to our faith, rather than having to give our right to all those who simply do not want to believe. Even believing in nothing is still a belief. We have our rights too.
2. Posted by anonymous on December 23, 2006 @ 3:45 | Permalink
I would be happy to have a mascot for Christmas, one who embodies everything that's good, wholesome and selfless about Christmas, but why should we all pretend that this mascot is real?
He's as real as we choose to make him in our lives. hth
3. Posted by anonymous on December 23, 2006 @ 3:46 | Permalink
Saint Nicolas was a real man too.
4. Posted by Bill on December 27, 2006 @ 16:33 | Permalink
I never understood the reluctance of parents to lie about Santa Clause. I enjoyed believing in Santa, and I enjoyed figuring out he wasnt' real. I never got angry at my parents, and I don't think I ever equated either Santa or the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy as being religious. They were easily distinguishable to me, we never prayed to or about them, and they had nothing to do with the religous aspects of Christmas and Easter.
5. Posted by Anon on December 28, 2006 @ 7:42 | Permalink
The "legal fiction" of believing in Santa Claus?