The Truth about Santa Claus
Caution: Spoilers Ahead
Yesterday I was wandering around the web reading news articles while I ate my lunch when I stumbled across one story that I thought was really unfortunate. A little girl's parents finally told her (at age ten) that there was (gasp!) no Santa Claus, and she responded by writing them a nasty letter saying that they had broken her heart, that she would probably never speak to them again, and that she illustrated with a hand-drawn emoji of a middle finger.
Yeah. Okay. Not funny. None of of it.
I've gotta say that I think the parents were asking for that one. And it's apparent from the kid's response that they've taught her to be unpleasant as well as shown her that they are unreliable liars. Good job.
My parents were often difficult and not always fair but I knew absolutely and for certain that they would tell me the truth. I could trust them for that always. Maybe that started with Santa Claus.
I remember clearly that I was small, maybe three years old, possibly two, when my mother first said that she had a very special secret to tell me. She said that it was extremely important that I keep the secret because that was respectful to other people. Mother told me that there was a game that parents like to play with their children at Christmas time when they pretend that Santa Claus is an actual person. Most children don't understand that this is a game but it IS only a game. Mother said that I could play fun things like writing to Santa Claus and stuff like that but I could ONLY pretend because it was play-pretend. And I must NOT ever tell another child the truth about the game because it could hurt their feelings.
Santa Claus was a pretend for holiday fun. That was all.
I understood, and I obeyed. And every year until I got a bit older, Mother reminded me of the truth about playing pretend and about keeping the special secret to reinforce the important lesson so that I would not have my heart broken nor sadden anyone else.
I kept the secret (well, until right now).
I wasn't hurt or disappointed.
I didn't miss out on anything that I am aware of.
I still got to play-pretend.....
but the vital difference is that I KNEW it was pretend.
It was still magic, and it was still fun!
And I thought it was cool that I got to keep a secret.
My family may have been total nonsense at doing anything traditional on holidays (yeah, really, they were, completely--you couldn't rely on anything to be the same from one year to the next, and that was something I often wished for) but they were absolutely right about Santa, and I couldn't be more grateful for that. I knew that I could trust my mother to tell me the truth; I might not like the answers I got but I could always ask for and receive verity.
I feel kinda sick about that kid being so inexcusably disrespectful to her parents. But I also think the apple didn't fall too far from the tree because her parents showed her utter disrespect by perpetuating a falsehood. If they were my parents, I wouldn't want to trust them ever again either.
Folks, don't lie to your kids! Trust is more important than preserving a lie to create false "magic" for the holidays. On this matter, if on nothing else, my mother was absolutely and astoundingly correct. The result of her telling me about play-pretend Santa was that I had proof that I could trust her for the truth so I could tell her the truth, too, and that formed the basis of a relationship with my mother that stayed unshakeably strong always.
I still think it's fun to play-pretend about Santa.
Well, we always just called him Claus.