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The Baby just turned three, and she’s really into Christmas this year. She loves seeing the lights on people’s houses and decorated trees. Every now and then, she’ll just say “It’s Christmas time!” because she’s so excited about it. It’s adorable.
Except for the whole Santa thing.
I’m not sure who’s to blame, but I’m guessing it’s her day care. Because all of a sudden, she says things like “Santa’s coming!” and seems to actually “believe” in Santa, in the Traditional Holiday Special sense. Up to this point, The Wife and I strenuously avoided any mention of Santa as much as possible because we both think it’s dumb, outmoded, and just wrong.
Yes, there is something precious and heartwarming about a tiny tot professing his/her belief in Santa. The problem is, it’s a belief in something that’s total bullshit. Would it be just as cute if I convinced The Baby to believe in a 10-foot-tall head of lettuce with arms and teeth that shat presents out of his butt-hole? Because that’s about as true as the whole Santa deal.
Santa Claus dates back to a time when the average schmoe actually
believed in ghosts, witches, and other mysterious, malevolent things. The world was a harsher
place. Go look up the original, Germanic Santa Claus stories–they are
truly horrifying. Because Santa never came alone. He was always trailed by trickster demons who plagued the naughty kids. And in those days, virtually everyone was naughty.
You wanted your kids to behave? You told them they’d get presents if they were good, beatings from a goat-legged goblin if they were bad. Just like the local priest told them they’d go to heaven if they shut up and plowed the field for their feudal lord, and go to hell if they didn’t.
Santa Claus isn’t make-believe, like when a little kid plays dress up or pretends s/he’s an airplane. It’s a lie. I don’t like lying to my child. I understand the temptation to do so, like when The Baby wants more junk food and my first inclination is to say We don’t have anymore. But that doesn’t teach her anything. What does teach her something is saying, You can’t have anymore because you’ve had a lot already and we’re eating dinner very soon.
Lies are easy, the truth is hard. But what’s even harder is one day, I have to tell my kid there’s no Santa, just because everyone else thought it would be cute to see a little kid believe in medieval nonsense. Thanks, World.