No, Virginia, there isn’t a Santa Claus

Published 5:28 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

By Staff
Being raised Jewish I never had to deal with my parents pretending that Santa Claus brought me presents and I was more than smart enough to understand from a young age that no such magical man existed.
I also, perhaps through intelligence and perhaps through my inability to sleep well, always understood that my mother or father put the dollar under my pillow when I lost a tooth.
Parents often associate these fairly innocent deceptions with maintaining a sense of wonder for their children.
I consider that nonsense as I had plenty of imagination yet was able to distinguish between reality and a nice story.
My 4-year-old never believed in Santa Claus and he understands that Mickey Mouse, Luke Skywalker and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are not real people/real giant talking creatures.
He also has a fabulous imagination and I have a hard time seeing how lying to him about where presents come from on Christmas would enhance his life in any way.
Basically, I want my child to understand that money comes from mommy and daddy working very hard and not from fantasy land.
If he has presents, it's because we, or someone else in the family, bought them, not because an elf made them in a mystical North Pole factory.
While many of you may not like hearing this, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy do not exist.
If you got presents under the tree, a basket of candy or a dollar under your pillow it came from a parent, a caregiver or a really adventurous neighbor.
Most adults, of course, know this fact, yet they go to absurd lengths to protect these myths and keep kids believing long past the point of reason.
It's one thing to set out cookies for Santa when you have a 3-year-old, it's another thing entirely to rent a Santa costume and a sleigh to fool your 8-year-old.
Of course, how you lie to your child matters very little to me, but it does concern me when the news media get involved.
Though legitimate news outlets rarely have anything to say about the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny, many of them seem fully invested in helping parents perpetuate the Santa myth.
Like they do every year, our local newscasts ran stories this year tracking Santa's progress on Christmas Eve.
Our supposedly legitimate news outlets ran repeated stories about an imaginary man on a flying sleigh who theoretically visits every Christian home on Earth in the same evening.
The national news media did the same thing and I find it impossible to believe that perpetuating a silly story takes precedence over maintaining credibility.
If we can track Santa's sleigh on the national news, why not interview Darth Vader to get his views on the Middle East crisis or see how Indiana Jones feels about blood diamonds?
Stories and gentle lies may have their place in the home and no kid ever got harmed too bad from believing in any of these tall tales.
Still, I'd prefer if Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and their friends remained something for the home, not a myth to be reinforced by actual journalists.
Call me a Grinch or a Scrooge, but I'd like to believe that some sort of line exists between fact and fiction on the evening news.
Perhaps that will get me a lump of coal in my stocking next year, but at least I'll know who paid for that coal.
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