Remember the good old days when you could buy a fistful of red frogs at the corner shop for 10 cents, children’s TV was limited to a carefully curated selection of wholesome shows and every kid believed in Santa Claus?
I understand the concept of inflation, so that explains the red frog price hike. And hey, we live in an entertainment-saturated world, so it makes sense that kids’ programming has exploded.
But I just can’t work out why so many kids these days are raised to be anti-Santa.
Whether it’s religious, cultural, or just plain “we don’t lie to our kids!” reasoning (I’m side-eyeing you, fellow millennial parents), Santa’s shining star is fading. The jolly man who brings hope, joy and Christmas magic is becoming taboo in some circles.
And I just can’t be okay with that.
Maybe Santa was always going to be a casualty in our increasingly politically correct society. You could flag him as discriminatory for only rewarding well-behaved children with gifts. You could argue that honesty is the best policy, leaving no room for the most large-scale dupe on kids of all time. And let’s not forget that preparing a plate of cookies for a morbidly obese man could be viewed as enabling his unhealthy relationship with food.
Perhaps our society simply isn’t Santa-friendly any more.
The thing is, Santa is a very harmless Christmas instalment. I don’t think there’s a single person out there living with bitter regret for believing in Santa as a child. Rather, we all have fond memories of writing Christmas wish lists, trying to stay up on Christmas Eve to listen for his imminent arrival, and waking on Christmas Day to a stuffed stocking and a scattering of presents under the tree. This tells me that Santa = awesome.
This new anti-Santa movement wouldn’t even bother me, if not for the fact that I want to raise little believers.
Call me a terrible parent, but I want my kids to experience that same starry-eyed wonder I did at Christmas, courtesy of old Saint Nick. If Santa is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
But with a number of parents in my circle determined to banish Santa from their family Christmases, my job is getting trickier. Because kids talk. And when one child in the group isn’t on board with Santa, the mentality starts to trickle down.
Put plain and simply, I don’t want your kids ruining Santa for my kids.
I don’t want to spend December fielding which families we can spend time with, lest the “S word” comes up at the kids’ table. I don’t want to try explaining why Santa visits everyone we know except the Smiths, the Joneses and the Browns. And I don’t want other parents to look down on me for simply upholding a generations-old tradition that is nothing more than harmless fun.
If you’re on the fence about Santa, keep in mind he can still have a place at Christmas without being the main event.
Santa doesn’t need the credit for every single penny you pinched to put together a magical Christmas for your kids. And it’s fantastic if you want to emphasise a faith-based “reason for the season” in your family. You can bend and mould Santa to fit into Christmas however you want him to. Honestly, he’ll just be happy to be there!
But if you really, truly want to keep Santa’s woolly-mitted hands off your family Christmas, I have one humble request…
Please coach your kids to keep their enlightenment to themselves.
Tell them about Santa, and explain exactly why your family has chosen not to believe. Then teach them that they’ll meet a lot of kids who do believe. Explain the importance of keeping their knowledge a secret so as not to ruin the fun for their friends.
And slip them an extra candy cane, because those poor non-believing kids could use some extra festive cheer.
If you need a reminder of how special Santa can be for kids, take another look at this Saint Nick who reached out to a boy with autism.