My goodness, this Santa thing has really caught on.
The man is crazy popular; he's all over the place. For some reason everybody loves their Santa. I know I do. I love Santa and Christmas and magic and the idea of believing. I love it all.
However, my editor/husband is Mr. Science Pants and apparently his Vulcan mind has no capacity for embracing the magic of Santa Claus. He is leery of the Santa story and worries about lying to the kids. "Come on" I say - "Is it lying to believe there really is a Sesame Street? Is it lying to believe the kids are really ballerina when they put on their tutus, or superheroes when they put on a cape?" Yet my editor/husband remains unconvinced. He goes along with it somewhat quietly, but only because he loves me and wants to keep me happy . But I think there is something else. Even though he doesn't understand it, he loves my magical thinking and finds it fascinating. [Editor's note: I do]
Santa is super popular because he is special - he is an entity who exists almost exclusively for children. Along with flawless skin and super-white teeth, the ability to wholeheartedly believe in Santa disappears with time. As adults, we love seeing our children's ability to be all-in. Their innocence is so different from our normal way. And so beautiful.
This year in our house we told the "fab-four" older kids (ages 9 through 13) that Santa is simply a story told to illustrate the spirit of giving, to inspire good behavior, and to make the season special. We told them in part because external forces are claiming that Bible stories are meant to be taken 100% literally and these same forces are encouraging limited and judgmental thinking. This terrifies both Mr. Science Pants and I, as we are desperate to help the kids see that stories are often told for reasons, and sometimes those reasons involve manipulating the listener. Kids may not be so naughty when toys are on the line, and blind unquestioning belief may be the result if a fiery eternity in Hell awaits the skeptic.
So we came clean on the tooth fairy too. This story marks a right of passage - the loss of a tooth. The fairy ritual makes it special and that is magical enough.
Stories are stories. Think for yourself. Santa would want it that way.
Merry Christmas!More from Karen:
A Little Neglect Goes a Long Way
Why your kids make you a better person