It brings out everybody’s inner arsehat in ways which are copious, plentiful and annoying to different people in different ways.
But my favourite annual beef by THEM is the endless discussion about whether LYING to your kids and telling them Santa is a real thing is setting them up for a LIFETIME OF BAD RELATIONSHIPS, and various other traumas FOR WHICH WE AS PARENTS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE (AS IF OUR KIDS AREN’T SMARTER THAN US ALREADY.)
Kids like to believe things. It’s one of the wonderful thing about kids. Their imaginations can take them from playing Teen Titans Go, to being a famous dancer, to being a horse in less than the time it took me to type this sentence.
Adults get to do the boring stuff. Pay bills, move the elf, teach manners, be Santa. It’s just what you do. And you do it because kids at Christmas are bloody adorable and you will do whatever you have to do to keep the magic alive for them.
Let’s take my Mum. She’s a pretty honest woman. But about 30 years ago she threatened the five eldest of her children with certain death if we told our baby sister that Santa wasn’t real. My sister is now 34 years old and all six of us still get presents from Santa TO THIS DAY because not one of us doubted my mother. Not for a second. If my baby sister knows that Santa is not real – it is not because any of us told her.
My 8 year old is having one last year of believing in Santa, and that’s just basically because she’s a logical soul. Her friends told her that Santa is really the parents who get up during the night and put the presents under the tree. But she’s worked out that couldn’t possibly be true because she spends so much time in our bed of a night, there’s no way we could sneak down and do it.
We just said “Good thinking 99” which led to a complicated discussion about old TV shows and successfully diverted her away from Santa.
The 6 year old believes in presents and I suspect if we told her Santa wasn’t real, her main concern would be that somebody will be responsible for delivering dolls and junior monopoly in 7 days time. She’s focussed like that.
Yes. It’s lying. But we all lie all the time. We say we are ‘fine’ when we’re having bad days. We threaten to throw all of the childrens’ toys in the garbage bin when we know that we won’t because we paid for that plastic crap and buggered if we’re just throwing it into the trash because we lost our cool one Monday morning. We fake listen when our beloved offspring take an hour to tell us the plot of a three minute cartoon. We tell people they look great when they look like shit or exclaim in delight at gifts that we find inexplicable.
The great thing about kids is that for them – all things are possible, probable and believable. It is why they can believe in the tooth fairy, in Santa, in gods of various denominations at the same time as we teach them about science, maths and other more practical matters.
It’s why kids don’t care if you’re gay, if you’re of a different religion, come from a home with two dads, or one mum or anything else. It is not about innocence, it’s not about teaching them truth, it’s about letting them all come to their own conclusions in their own time, in their own way. Kids are generally very accepting of differences, largely because they don’t notice them. Which is why kids are much better people than adults.
And that belief that the world is a good place, a giving place, an inclusive place – if that is sustained by letting them believe in magic, in Santa, in fairies – I’m all for being the biggest ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’ around! *
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*Even if I do have to google the maths to explain how fast Santa and his sleigh goes to deliver presents to the children in the Southern Hemisphere before getting to the Northern Hemisphere and who delivers the presents to the children of different religions that don’t do Christmas Christmas but do their own kind of Christmas at different times of the year.