17 December 2005

A Great White Lie

Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, St. Nicholas, and Knecht Ruprecht, Shaman in the Tree.

Most notably, Santa Claus destroys family relations. Think about it. Parents all across the country tell their young children to go to bed, because Santa's on his way and only leaves presents to kids if they're asleep.

Then there's the whole naughty or nice thing. Who's Santa to be judging? He sets forth with his eight tiny reindeer then commits what constitutes a felony in the majority of states: breaking and entering.

Yet, here's the fat man in red and furs tauted as the be-all season topper. Who else feels this custom is a bit skewed? What are we teaching our kids by propogating the Santa Secret?

Then there's that day, when little Johnny and Suzie find out the truth about that bowl full of jelly. Some shrug and move on with their lives, others spend a couple years trying not to believe the ugly truth, and many others feel their parents betrayed them.

Santa Claus sends out several messages to kids: it's alright to enter someone's home in the middle of the night as long as you are powerful, Christmas is about receiving gifts, a person should behave only to ensure they receive a reward, and it's okay to lie to people as long as it's in good fun.

Which brings me to the main reason we kicked Santa out of our house after the birth of our second son. How can I, as a parent, expect my children to remain honest, if I am not honest with them? And Santa represents a huge lie, not a little white one like the majority like to claim. The depth of belief needed to make Santa work hits at a deep level. It forces a child to re-examine truth as they know it. Even if a child doesn't demonstrate some personal questioning, it happens inside, subconsciously.

Then there's the whole fact that it builds an expectation of gifts, changing the focus from giving to receiving. The entire act does nothing but serve the interest of a corporate world intent on filling the world with more stuff. Our little apartment is already overflowing with stuff, celebration of Christmas would cause us to bust at the seams.

My only remorse, my main point of agreement with my opponents, is that I've denied them the magic of the season. This grieves me, but my morals drive my conviction. Magic or honesty, which to choose? So, this Christmas, as your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandkids run down to the sparkly tree packed to the wall with gifts from Sinter Klaus, remember to ask if that's really right, to lie to a kid and set them up for the inevitable discovery of deception.

(Next, I will provide some history on the fat man and talk about his role as an archetype. I don't think Santa's all that bad, just the lies surrounding his mythos.)


K. Silem Mohammad said...

What is this "lie" that you allude to? Find out what "truth"? What are you implying? I don't like where this is going. I'm so scared. Someone please hold me.

Kyle Stich said...

Oh, Kasey. I haven't laughed so hard since, well, since I saw this guy in an orange poncho touch his finger to his nose before slipping on his ...He looked pretty scared, too. (true story)