Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Ranil

Telling Children about Santa Claus

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I was wondering how you guys explain the concept of Santa Claus (and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, etc) to your kids. Do you tell them that he lives on the north pole and rides around on reindeer on Christmas eve?

Or do you tell them that he doesn't really exist, but that the symbol of Santa Claus is about joy and benevolence and goodwill, and therefore good?

I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts.

Sorry to all those who still believe in Santa for this post. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have children, but I figured out the Santa thing before my sixth Christmas (my 6th Xmas was the day I turned 5). While some kids might be crushed by the knowledge, my mother was more disappointed than I was. However, I don't see the benefit of propagating the Santa farce. Remember, kids don't have to believe in Santa to have fun with him and the presents "he" gives.

Edited by FeatherFall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People make a lot of unnecessary fuss about this.

When you read your kids a bedtime story, or when they see a cartoon on TV, do you wring your hands about whether they'll "find out" it isn't real and what kind of "psychological trauma" it will cause them? All healthy children are capable of telling fiction and games apart from reality, and the knowledge that something's a game does not detract from the enthusiasm and earnestness with which they approach it. Children have none of the mental corruption and frailty that many grown-ups, having forgotten their own childhood, project onto them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is nothing wrong with believing in Santa when you are a kid. It's fun, exciting, and part of the "magic" of the holiday. The time comes when you eventually learn the truth and I've never heard of anyone becoming "emotionaly scarred" because of it. Just make sure your kid has a good rational outlook on the world and these little games will never be more than what they were supposed to be at the time-- fun.

Merry Christmas to everyone here at OO.net. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a kid I was told Santa Clause wasn't real, and it had no effect on me enjoying the character or Christmas. I appreciated my parents being honest with me.

I guess, in the end, I don't think lying is the best policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Roland and Eric. I see no harm is done as long as your kids know it is fiction. While I don't have children yet, I imagine I will here at some point. Having come from a big family and having lots of friends kids hanging around, I know that kids absolutely KNOW FOR A FACT that there is a street named Sesame, and if they could only find it, they'd drink tea with Mr Snuffalufagus.

In the case of Santa etc, their is a real playfullness and benevolance (I think that is the word) with playing him. The joy of getting to watch kids eyes light up is neat. It could just as easily be named "Producer Claus" who runs a factory free of interfence from government in the North Pole who rewards kids who have saved and been productive year round. But that isn't going to quite catch on yet. It's just a matter of what you stress as the important values he rewards.

Eventually, like all things, they learn to distinguish between the two. Though in the case of Santa I know he's real as he gave me a nice digital camera that I've wanted for a long time this very morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Santa doesn't exist :D !!?

I knew I'd destroy at least one person's day. :santa:

I see nothing wrong with using the story of Santa in the same way that you would tell a child a fairy tale or a greek legend. At the end of the day, they will realise that it's fictional, but they would gain so much from the positive values in those stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about this. I'd worry more about explaingin to a child the motivations of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, than about their existence.

After all, I can understand why parents would give their children presents, or would mark in some way a stage of their children's growth. But if Santa and the Tooth Fairy hand out gifts and money without getting anything in return, are they not altruists?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been thinking about this. I'd worry more about explaingin to a child the motivations of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, than about their existence.

After all, I can understand why parents would give their children presents, or would mark in some way a stage of their children's growth. But if Santa and the Tooth Fairy hand out gifts and money without getting anything in return, are they not altruists?

That is why I said you just have to stress the right values. For a kid that is so small they'd belive in Santa Claus, working on basic concepts of "good boy" vs. "bad boy" is enough. Trying to explain to a little kid that given their current production of refrigerator art is slacking off and their cuteness quotient is being superceded by the neighbor's kids, therefore they don't get a gameboy, then that is missing the point. Something as simple as basic concepts of don't lie, be honest, etc are enough for Santa or the tooth fairy to reward them. Sell Santa as a politeness coach in that sense.

And with the Tooth Fairy, you are more importantly helping your kids out of the traumatic experience of losing teeth. If you want to get really technical, you could say the Tooth Fairy is buying the teeth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're right. My apologies. I overlooked your post.

I rather like your ideas regarding "Producer Claus."

I wish I could claim full credit for that one. There was an Objectivist site that posted a celebration of December 25th. They renamed it "Producer's Day" and you would put something in your stocking that would be given an exchange of fair value for the Magical Robber Baron who came down your chimney. It was actually quite funny.

I can't find the site right now but I do remember that one of the people had a print of Brian Larsen on the wall that I loved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see nothing wrong with using the story of Santa in the same way that you would tell a child a fairy tale or a greek legend. At the end of the day, they will realise that it's fictional, but they would gain so much from the positive values in those stories.

Exactly...

If I understand Scott Kursk right (correct me if I'm wrong, Scott), the story has its own value despite the fact that the character isn't real. It might be the equivalent of you enjoying Lord of the Rings. You know it's not real, but yet the characters come to life for you and almost seem real when you're reading it. I really enjoyed LOTRs, even though I knew it wasn't real.

I would never tell a child that the Easter Bunny or Santa are real. I would tell such a story to a kid, and point out all of the wonderful things in the story. There are many imaginative ideas in the story of Santa Claus, such as the world he lives in, with the Elves in the North Pole. You can enjoy the cleverness, and benevolence of that created world, and know it's not real. Not to mention the moral of the story, which often does have real value. In fact, you could even make certain aspects of that world real in your own life.

Like I said, I had great parents who told me these characters weren't real, yet they wanted me to enjoy them, which I did. In fact, I remember feeling quite proud of my awareness and acceptance of the fact that they were not real. I don’t think I missed out on anything as a result of this, and I’m sure my brothers and sister would say the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Exactly...

If I understand Scott Kursk right (correct me if I'm wrong, Scott), the story has its own value despite the fact that the character isn't real. It might be the equivalent of you enjoying Lord of the Rings. You know it's not real, but yet the characters come to life for you and almost seem real when you're reading it. I really enjoyed LOTRs, even though I knew it wasn't real.

That is it. Use Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as an alegorical tale. Just like any other fairy tale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wish I could claim full credit for that one. There was an Objectivist site that posted a celebration of December 25th. They renamed it "Producer's Day" and you would put something in your stocking that would be given an exchange of fair value for the Magical Robber Baron who came down your chimney. It was actually quite funny.

That's odd. I've often thought about Thanksgiving as "Producer's Day." Christmass has laways struck me as more of a time of goodwill. Not that a Magical Robber baron is without merit, mind. I rather like the idea of a Carnegy, Rockefeller or Vanderbilt conducting an exchange via the chimney.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts.
I have a five year old son that I thought was going to ask me this question this year. He was real excited about Christmas as opposed to previous years, and I figured he would come ask me about stuff he heard in school.

If my son had asked the question, I was going to handle it the way I handle Spiderman, Superman, Ant-X, Power Rangers, etc. "Did you ever see a Spiderman?" I explain that what the represent exists, but I have never seen a spider-man. I am not going to tell him, I want him draw the conclusion that Santa doesn't exist by himself.

My apartment had a Santa down in the lobby this year, and so I brought my son down to see him. I figured I would hear the question before I go back to the room, and he never asked. Later I asked him who the guy was. His reply was Santa. I asked if he was real, and my son said he was fake. I didn't say anymore.

I live in Beijing, and many of the children in his school are Buddhists, zen Buddhist, atheist, Jews and Christians. I figure he had already heard enough by kids who never heard of Santa to dismiss the concept by himself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I disagree, to a point, with most here. As far as it goes, I think Santa is fine if understood as only a myth of tradition, but not if presented as a fact of reality.

Children can be stunted in a very real way by introducing the idea that this is not just a myth that we Make-Believe this tradition, but a truth. During the first years of a child's life, they are desparately grasping for information to make the world understandable and consistant. This is the worst time to introduce the idea (as true) that mysticism is real and good and faeries and magical people are the way of the real world. Aside from the whole lying thing, this is more destructive.

Then, as they start figuring out the lie, they may keep the idea that magic is real, but THIS time, it wasn't. And Mommy/Daddy are dishonest.

Double-good going.

Edited by Being John Galt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...