No Virgina, There Is No Santa Claus
Ask any large group of kids, or even adults for that matter, what the most recognizable symbol of Xmas is, and a few will probably say Xmas trees/wreaths of holly; a few might say snowmen; or boxes with Xmas wrappings and ribbons. One or two might even say Christ – that oh so warm and best pizza NYC fuzzy baby Jesus manger scene displayed in shopping centres from coast to coast (which is fictional nonsense but that’s another topic). But by far and away, the vast majority will nominate “Santa Clause” (with or without elves, reindeer, and sleigh).
Nearly every child on Planet Earth is exposed to the Christmas icon commonly labelled Santa Claus. The image of Santa is everywhere. On Xmas cards, on wrapping paper, on billboards, in the movies, physically present on the street corner, in the department store, represented in song lyrics and titles, and in pictorials in just about every place and reach that commercialism can stick a Santa image on.
Maybe in one sense therefore no one has to tell a child that Santa exists. The child will just assume the positive based on the images and the evidence. Of course ultimately false impressions and expectations are those that child will have to come to terms with sooner or later. Until that sad day eventuates…
So, what can parents do but go with the flow and tell their little darling brats (sorry, their kids – brats are other family’s kids), “yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. Of course parents may have an incentive – it’s a carrot and stick method, something to get their brat (oops, little darling) to tow their line. “You do as I say or Santa won’t do his thing for you come Xmas Eve!” But whatever happened to the ethical concept of telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Just about every year we read about or personally see/hear public figures do an ‘oops’ and blurt out to anyone within range that “no Virginia, there is no Santa Claus”, and end up in a lot of hot water, and more often as not, humiliated and forced to retract their statement. Why should they, for after all they just stated the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? So, you get a pat on the back if you lie and tow the Santa line; you get the middle finger if you tell it like it is. Something’s screwy – back to front – somewhere.
Surely parents would not expect society, public figures, authority figures, to lie to their little brats (oops, little darlings). Surely parents would not wish for their little darlings to be told lies by their teachers when starting out at kindergarten or elementary school. Yet when it comes to Santa, telling lies as opposed to the truth, well that’s the exception to the otherwise ethical rule.
Now parents will rationalise that sooner or later their darling little brat (sorry, little Jane or Johnny) will have that eureka moment when the light bulb lights and the kid finally and rationally using pure logic figures it all out all by himself/herself – no, there isn’t a Santa Claus anymore than there is a mythical figure flying around with a big S displayed on his cape and chest. Or, maybe the penny drops when the presents from Santa are socks and underwear, not toys! Maybe it’s when a friend/classmate (or other higher authority) with a superiority complex ridicules your kid and tells him (or her) the real Santa Claus facts-of-life.
Assuming kids can figure it all out themselves, how do kids figure it all out?