What do you think of when you see an image of Santa Claus? Do warm memories of cookies, presents, and waiting up to try and hear the prancing and pawing of little reindeer hooves come to mind? Or, do you become a Holiday Hulk, powered by the rage of someone deceived for many of your best years with a lie about a fat creeper in red who would sneak into your house once a year and steal your sense of trust. This may seem extreme, but after several conversations, often during the holiday season, I’ve stumbled upon an interesting phenomenon. Apparently, there are two schools of thought surrounding the myth of ole St. Nick. One group loved buying into the stories of Santa coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve and eating the gnarly cookies your seven-year-old self painstakingly decorated. Others feel betrayed by their jerkstore parents for blatantly lying to them for no reason other than tradition, or that it’s fun/easy to lie to gullible little kids.
I personally belong to the group that embraces the white lie that brought a sense of magic to my childhood and appreciate the lengths to which my parents went to carry on the myth until my brother finally wised up and demanded the truth. Even when they fessed up to their so-called treachery, I still wanted to buy into the thought of Santa for some reason, if only because he was part of the whole Happy Christmas shebang. I have many friends, however, who do not share my warm fuzzies around the subject. They feel that lying to your kids about the presence of a stranger who sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake (which, I agree, is super creepy) can only end in negative repercussions. These individuals feel that using the omnipresent Santa to trick kids into behaving throughout the year only reinforces the idea of material importance and rewarding good behavior with gifts defeats the purpose of being good. These same people feel equally butt hurt about being told the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Hanukkuh Dragon, and other such fairytale nonsense existed and have vowed to never tell their own future children such hurtful lies.
Honestly, I still fail to see the harm in enhancing or embellishing the already vivid imaginations and sense of wonder present in most youngsters, but I’d be curious to further the discussion. Tell me dear readers, where do you stand? Do you think back on childhood fictional figures with nostalgia, or does the thought of it make you want to cry/vomit/hit something a little? Please, talk amongst yourselves. I’m getting verklempt.