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April 09, 2008

Santa

 

Santa2_2 Few things in my life as a parent have given me more guilt than Santa. My children believe in Santa, love Santa, think about Santa even when (like now) it is not the Christmas season. They prefer Santa to God, although in their minds the difference between the two is probably pretty negligible.

Why do they believe so fervently in this mythical, toy-distributing fat man? Because I have deliberately and repeatedly lied to them. I have looked them in their wide, trusting eyes and fed them a line of horseshit about the North Pole, the reindeer, the elves, the whole thing. And they believed me.

Moreover, I have held this lie over their heads as one might hold a sword. “If you’re not good Santa’s not going to come.” I have said these words out loud and with a straight face. “Santa is not going to come.” Which, to a child, is the same as saying, “I am going to leave you in a parking lot.” In other words, threatening them in this manner is essentially the same as threatening them with death. They are unsure whether such a thing is possible. Is it possible that their behavior is actually bad enough that Santa might bypass our house entirely? “Yes,” I assure them, “It is.”

But, of course, Santa does come. Every year at the appointed hour, he shows up with his magic happy bag of toys. Santa is fidelity itself. “Look what Santa brought!” I might say to my daughter as she rips open the doll box that still has the price tag on it bearing the name of the toy store from which I bought it. Santa brings good shit.

Why does this bother me so much? Because parents aren’t supposed to lie to their kids. But I feel peer pressure to perpetuate the Santa conspiracy because to do otherwise would be to potentially spoil Christmas for everybody else’s kids, and that guilt would be worse than the guilt I have from setting up my own kids for the eventual disappointment and betrayal they will feel when they finally come to their senses and realize Mommy and Daddy are not trustworthy, just as those other kids will feel the same about their own parents.

Of course, my mendacity is not limited to Santa. The Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny have all received their due in my house. So has Jesus, although not from me. To a child, the world must appear like a fantastic whirligig of angels, fairies, and countless other supernatural beings all coming and going just out of sight. No wonder children are terrified of the dark. There’s no telling who is going to show up.

Eventually, I know my kids will figure out that Santa does not exist, which will be even worse because at that point, they will not know whether or not to let us know that they know. Some kids keep pretending they believe just so they don’t disappoint their parents, who keep the lie going so as not to disappoint their kids, and so on. Therapy soon follows.

Wouldn’t it be better just to say, “Here’s a Christmas present. It’s from Mommy and me because we love you?” Wouldn’t that be better? Wouldn’t it mean more coming from us than from some weirdo in a red suit? (Although to be fair, “weirdo in a red suit” could also describe Grandpa.) Why do we need Santa at all? What is he providing that parents cannot provide for themselves?

I hate Santa.

I hate everything he represents: jolliness, greed, exploitation of workers, phoniness, Coca-Cola, logic gaps, children sitting on strange men’s laps, bastardized Christianity, corporatocracy, Scotch tape, and, of course, Nazis.

This year, let's kill Santa. On an appointed day, say December 24th, can't we agree to all sit our kids down and tell them the truth once and for all? Can't we just tell them we were kidding, and wasn't that a good one? See - here's the Christmas presents right here, in the luggage closet where we always keep them until you go to sleep on Christmas Eve. See? Then we can give them the presents, from us, and tell them to quit crying about it or we're going to leave them in a parking lot.

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Therese

I tell the same lies, and use the same threats. We also have The Birthday Fairy, who brings birthday presents. And can be used in the same threatening manner with equal results.

Being disappointed that a) Santa/Tooth fairy/Easter Bunny etc isn't real and b) Mummy and Daddy lied, is good preparation for the suckfest of constant let downs that is the world we brought them into.

Santa

HoHoHo
Come and get it you son of a bitch
HoHoHo

me again

I was just thinking about this today! I remember how let down I was when my parents told me Santa wasn't real. Even though deep down I already knew, it still felt good to pretend. I still feel the same way about Jesus.

I was even trying to decide if I should perpetuate the myth if I have kids. I thought Jews got out of all this crap!

Ethereal Zoe

I completely agree with you on this. I've long had problems understanding how parents could tell their kids that there's a jolly happy magical man far away who knows everything you do (good or bad) and will punish you (via denial of gifts) if you're not good. Then these same parents try to explain God to their kids and the explanation probably sounds very much the same to them. Of course, then the kid learns Santa's not real and the magic is all gone. I personally have to wonder if it doesn't affect the kid's belief in God, even just a little. After all, if Mommy and Daddy made up Santa, what else is made up?

Of course, my parents told me from the get-go that there was no Santa, so I don't know the thrill of thinking there is one. However, if it is any consolation to you, I can attest that knowing the truth from birth in no way lessens one's potential need for therapy. Honest.

Santa

By the way.... this is Santa...
and this is the Santa Rap....
Hohoho
I'll be cummin down your chimney when I blow my load,
Bust my gat,
It's all gift wrapped,
Just rip that bag, and let it RAT-TAT-TAT,
BOOM!
Just shot up the room,
If you act naughty, I'll lay yo ass in a tomb,
Santa ain't playin
So yall best be prayin
And next time, I won't be made a fool...
I SMOKE BLUNTS!
SANTA OUT YALL

Nicole Cooper

I can't stop thinking of the Stella short "Searching for Santa"

What's up dude?

Susanna

Wait, THERE'S NO SANTA??!!

:::::::FAINTS:::::::

Cam

I think lying to your children is sometimes necessary. I'd rather tell them daddy is working swing shift(again) instead of telling them he's off to meet that whore Wanda-with-the-fake-boobs who works at the Snak Atak.
But that's just me:)

HO,HO,HO, indeed!

Reen

Great "Devils Advocate" entry. I see where you are coming from, but, as a parent of a teen, I have to respectfully submit, that parents shouldn't *always* tell the truth to their kids.

"So Mom..did you ever smoke pot in a bathroom stall at school and accidentally burn off your eyebrows?" You see? Raw honesty is not always the answer. I may be preaching to the choir on that point as you are talking specifically about the mother of all parental lies - Santa (and his homies). I don't know, I guess I'm one of *those* parents, who encourages using the imagination, believing in things you can't always see or science can't explain, having magical thoughts, fantastical dreams, and so on. Probably makes me look a fool. I have to blame someone, so I guess I'll blame my parents. My parents were whimsical, humorous, crazy loving, open minded, and goofy. Thank goodness. Because of that, Santa, for me, was a wonderful experience, and we passed that experience on to my daughter. Played it up - had fun with it.

Different strokes for different folks. :-)

Rylee

Wait, are you saying there's no Santa? Then who the hell did I spend my winter break with in the North Pole? You're a liar!

Tracie

I was never fed the lie about Santa when I was a kid because your exact reason. Christmas was still always exciting and I never was disappointed by finding out he wasn't real.

Daddy Dan

I've always thought the same thing. Why do parents lie to their kids about Santa Claus? It's silly. That said, there is tremendous peer pressure to do so and I'm sure we'll be doing it with our now 19-month old. Oh well, better starting saving up for the therapy sessions.

Great blog, Michael!

notoriousemh

no way captain grinch, santa is the only thing surprise hoarding misers like me have to look forward too!

LuvyChic

This, my friend, is why you win. EVERYTIME!!!

I love it!

funny stuff

M

Give your wife a present from Santa and when the kids ask where your present is, simply explain to them that Santa is an anti-Semite. Educational AND a good way to test their love. You're welcome!

wgibso

Finally, somebody says it. I HATE the whole Santa myth and all the lies we have to tell to support it.

Plus, it has me thinking that my kids are maybe a little slow. I mean, I figured out that Santa was a load of shit when I was five: "Delivering presents to three billion people (I was five a long time ago) in ONE NIGHT? Pff. Sure, pull the other one..."

But my kids, 8 and 11, are still hanging in there with Santa AND the Tooth Fairy. Not that I'm helping matters by doing things like staying up half the night drawing a goddamned "self-portrait" of the Tooth Fairy when my daughter left her a note asking what she looks like. Gah.

krystina

It's weird, because although my parents didn't try to force the Santa mentality on me growing up, they still hid all the Christmas presents in a closet.
This was never explained to us as children and strangely enough we never questioned the fact of the Christmas presents lying at the back of the closet ( which we always knew were there, and were from our parents).
I guess they got half of it right, but just forgot to lie about Santa.

krystina

It's weird, because although my parents didn't try to force the Santa mentality on me growing up, they still hid all the Christmas presents in a closet.
This was never explained to us as children and strangely enough we never questioned the fact of the Christmas presents lying at the back of the closet ( which we always knew were there, and were from our parents).
I guess they got half of it right, but just forgot to lie about Santa.

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