Thursday, January 25, 2007

Post-holiday Santa Post

I probably should wait to post this until next December. But with the holidays over, I've had some time to reflect.

Any culturally Christian parent who is serious about parenting does not let their kids believe in Santa Claus. The arguments against telling your kids the Santa myth go something like: 1)It's a lie, and the kids will eventually find out that it's a lie and 2) Santa is suspiciously like god. The second point is difficult for believers because of the first: when kids find out that Santa is a lie, they may start to question whether god is a lie as well. It's also a problem for non-believers since Santa is a gateway belief for full-out theism. However the first point is usually the sticking point for atheists since they reject any supernatural beings.

The non-serious parents don't care that Santa is a lie. They don't think lying to your kids is such a big deal. And they feel there are benefits to the Santa myth--instilling a sense of wonder, imagination, and having a heavy to threaten your kids with (you better be good for goodness sake).

This year I discovered another benefit to the Santa myth--deferred responsibility. Since Spetember my son was telling what he wanted for Christmas. And my response was always, "Tell it to Santa." Nice and simple. Holy crap, can you imagine how things would be if he knew it was me and the wife getting those gifts? We'd never get any sleep.

Deferred responsibility is a great tool for people in power. "Gee, I'd like to help you son, but Santa makes those decisions. There's nothing I can do."

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