Tuesday, December 05, 2006

you better not shout, you better not cry

I don't actually remember ever believing in Santa, so i don't really get why some parents make such a big deal about "preserving the magic", or whatever it is they call keeping your kid believing a fairy tale for as long as possible.

Those of you who DID believe in Santa: was it really that special? Was it terribly disappointing to find that your parents bought you gifts because they loved you rather than that they were brought to your house by a nosy, controlling, sweatshop-owning fat guy?

Okay, i'm just kidding about the sweatshop thing, but I'm serious about the keeping-the-secret part. David was in a group of people including several smaller children recently when he made a comment that might be interepreted to suggest that Santa wasn't real, whereupon he was angrily shushed by one of the Moms. And that's the part I don't get -- why is it important to keep the kid fooled? What does the kid get out of it? A chance to look stupid in front of his friends who know the truth?

Your wisdom is invited.


At Wed Dec 06, 05:46:00 AM PST, Blogger Kylee said...

I have mixed feelings about this one, based on my being one that believed a lot longer than most ,being very naive, and having that be just one more reason to be teased as a child. My own child is already questioning it.

I don't know why it meant so much for me to believe. I guess the excitement of trying to catch him sneaking into my home. The magic of how he was able to get to everyone’s homes. The magic of believing that someone else thought I was special enough to bring me something cool and knowing what I really wanted.

The reality is so much different if you think about it. There are plenty of kids that don't get Santa at all and it has nothing to do with a lack of magic it has to do with a lack of money and that’s very sad.

I don't think anyone should ever have a fit if another child lets out the "secret". That’s just irresponsible, blaming someone else for letting the truth be known. It happens when it happens. So what is really fun about it….when your younger and you believe you get teased, once you get older and you know the truth and let it slip you get a tongue lashing. Neither is fun.

When my cousin’s kids were older and found out the truth we explained it as we can all bring the "magic" of Santa into out lives by giving to others. Other’s being mostly kids. Let kids be kids and help them with the tools to do that, because a childhood is too short having fun and enjoying it is very important. Some of us are more fortunate to be able to do that with some ease while others don't get the opportunity.

I don’t think I have settled on anything myself but that’s my 2cents.

At Wed Dec 06, 06:42:00 AM PST, Blogger unca said...

I'm not sure I get this. Is Bryan implying that Santa Claus is not real?

At Wed Dec 06, 11:15:00 AM PST, Blogger Erik said...

yeah, i'm with unca. someone shut this post down, it's ruining my magic.

actually, my sister and i knew he wasn't real either, but we acted like we thought he was so we could put out cookies for him and then eat them all ourselves. ingenious.

p.s. kylee-i'm with you. if you believe santa's real, cool. if some other kid tries to tell you he's not, evaluate that statement, make your own judgement, and move on. no referreeing necessary from the parentals.

At Wed Dec 06, 11:59:00 AM PST, Blogger Amy said...

No wisdom here, just personal experience. I rather clung to the Santa thing, not because I actually believed in him, but because he offered a certain amount of warmth and joy that my life lacked until I met your family. You see what I'm getting at. To me it seems like a luxury to say you don't "remember" believing in him. How nice that you could take him or leave him. Now I don't miss the ol fat guy at all. And I have no plans of telling my children he exists. He is known to my 2yr old as "funny guy!". Though I still like the lights... :)

At Wed Dec 06, 04:00:00 PM PST, Blogger blogball said...

I was brought up knowing the true meaning of Christmas plus the fun of believing in Santa. For me it was a special magical time every year and that great feeling on Christmas morning with my siblings running to my room and telling me to “wake up Santa came!” This may sound corny but these special magical moments kids experience may inspire them to recapture the same magical moments as an adult by giving to charities, helping those in need and lifting spirits all year round.

So what’s all this stuff about not believing in Santa?

At Wed Dec 06, 04:49:00 PM PST, Blogger jay are said...

I'm pretty much with Blogball on this one. But here are some ramblings of my own:

Santa and Christmas, etc., represent a lot of different things to people---some good, some not so positive. Obviously there are some people who don't do anything about it and don't tell their kids anything about Santa, and if that works for them, that's good. I loved the idea of Santa when I was young. I loved Christmas---it seemed to be one of the few times of the year that my dad really enjoyed, and thus it was a fun time for all. We had our own version that wasn't very commercial but it was a happy time.

I don't remember any particular moment of traumatic realization that there really was no Santa. The understanding of that seemed to be a gradual thing. (I'm still working on it, heh). I do think it's kinda crummy, tho, when some kid wrecks the idea of Santa for, say, a three year old or something--especially if it's deliberate. It seems to me that it's the parent who gets to do that (even though life's not always that tidy, I understand). Usually before they're very old, kids seem to start catching on, and that's when parents can kind of say, "well, yeah, actually, you know how you saw eight Santas at the mall today? Well, that's cuz he isn't really exactly real" or whatever. Seems a bit mean almost to let it go on too much past the toddler stage, even though it's one of the markers of a loss of childhood or innocence when you have to tell your kids that fairytales aren't real...But that's life, eh?

I think it's interesting what Amy mentioned, how for some of us it's a luxury to not really remember believing--or not remembering when we stopped believing. That must surely indicate that there were other, more fulfilling things foundationally in our lives that made the existance of Santa not vastly important. I never thought of that as a luxury before, but I can see that perspective.

And so I guess that will be the end of my novella.

At Wed Dec 06, 07:34:00 PM PST, Blogger Alan said...

I knew at age five it was really Mom and Dad who got me the train set. I can't remember much about the Christmases before that, so I don't recall actually believing at anytime. The folks always put "From Santa" on the name tags, but mainly for the humorous aspects.


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