Parental Advisory: This writing deals with a subject matter that is potentially very sensitive to young children. Parents with children under 12 may wish to use discretion. If you are a parent with children over 12 years old and haven’t discussed this subject – BLESS YOUR HEARTS!
Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen. Today I intend to touch upon a VERY controversial subject. I feel almost disheartened that I feel the need to air my views on this subject. I must qualify that I have TRIED my best over the years to make my writing as family friendly as possible. My sister has even told me that I tend to censor myself when I write. Part of the reason why I do this is that I want my writing to be safe for readers of all ages. If a 12 year old reads my writing and doesn’t understand something, I want it to be because their vocabulary is immature and not because my writing is too “adult”.
Today’s subject will fly in the face of that family friendly policy a bit. I am going to talk about Santa Claus. All around the world, kids will wait for a man in a red suit and white beard to circumnavigate the globe and bring presents to those good little boys and girls. Stories of Santa Claus are steeped into Christmas tradition. It’s a part of Christmas tradition that has been around far longer than I have (and will remain long after I am gone). Parents go to great length to perpetuate the story of Santa Claus. Parents teach children that Santa Claus is a reality until they feel their children has reached the age where they must have “the talk” with their kids.
I took a bit of a different route with my children. I didn’t hide Santa from my kids. I did, however, teach my kids from day one that Santa Claus is a fictional character. Did I let my kids watch TV specials about a red nosed reindeer or snowman powered by normal household items? Sure! I also let them watch TV specials where kids decorated a shoddy Christmas tree and sang carols about the birth of Jesus. The thing is, there are just some premises that I have issues with regarding Santa Claus. Once again, I provide a bulleted list:
- 11 months a year we teach children some VERY important provisos about “stranger danger”. Christmas season comes around and parents worldwide will set such policies aside. These same parents will encourage their children to sit in the lap of a stranger. If that were not enough, the same parents will encourage this same child to accept candy from this stranger. These truly loving parents would lose their minds if a man who is only employed during one month a year would invite their kids to sit in his lap and accept candy.
- The concept of Santa Claus encourages the belief that children will receive gifts based on good behavior over the previous 11 months. There are two problems with this.
- Even the most well-behaved child with the most faithful and just parents is going to blow a streak of good behavior. That is simply human nature. Conversely, the most incorrigible child will put on the airs of a noble Boy Scout come December.
- In either of the above cases, the problem is teaching a child that a GIFT must be EARNED. This flies in the face of the very definition of a gift. One never has to earn a gift. As a matter of fact, it CANNOT be earned. If it is earned, it is not a gift. The only requirement to receive a gift is simply to take it. It’s so simple and yet, somehow, so complex.
- I saw a post earlier this week asking parents to be sensitive to the plight of other parents. The simple scenario is that Kid A gets a brand new video game system. His best friend, Kid B gets a paddleball and a big set of crayons. This is simply because Kid B’s parents cannot afford more. Ergo, there is concerned that Kid B will think that Santa found him less deserving than Kid A. Both parents should teach their kids that possessions are not always equal. Some kids will have to walk five blocks to catch a city bus to school while their friends (or even their enemies) will be driven by their parents to school in an Escalade. That’s life. Mind you, if both kids live closely enough, the Escalade driver should drive both kids to school. I’m sure the parent who is putting their kid on a city bus will be grateful (and even offer to share gas costs if their budget allows). Imagine the example both parents could pass down to their kids in such a scenario.
- Parents will talk to their friends, peers, and colleagues about diversity. They will pontificate they it is important to accept those who celebrate a holiday tradition other than Christmas. That is UNTIL they find out you are teaching your kids that Santa Claus is fictional. These same “diverse” individuals will suddenly vilify you and tell you that your are ruining Christmas for children everywhere. I have literally seen relationships threatened over the subject of Santa Claus. If you wish for your child to believe Santa Claus is real, fine and dandy. Conversely, do not rant at someone because they teach their that Santa is fictional. Such actions are not in the interest of diversity. It only serves hypocrisy.
OK folks! I have gotten it off my chest. With the subject of Santa aside, I offer the following suggestions. If you have parents (or adult children) who live nearby, tell them that you love them. You never know when you will no longer have them around to do so. Do the same for other friends or loved ones that live over long distances. If you re able to access this blog, you are likely able to reach out to a friend while they are still around to receive the message. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season. Thank you all for following my readings up to this point. Celebrate the season as you wish. I wish to celebrate it as the One who was born to become a nobody so that I could be a somebody. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.