Saturday, December 10, 2011
Yes Virginia, There are 1,000 Santa Clauses. (Lying to Your Kids, Ho Ho, Hmmm?)
Today is Santacon in New York City. The day where thousands of Santa Clauses parade around—and get merry at all the Irish pubs—in New York City. It’s a pretty incredible sight for kids and parents alike. But what goes through a little kid’s mind when he sees thousands of Santas—in different shapes, sizes, sexes, and nationalities—when he’s been told his whole little life, that there is only one Santa who chills in the North Pole—the fat guy who runs the factory with a dozen or so dedicated, highly-skilled elves that spend one whole year churning out toys for millions of girls and boys—the nice ones. Parents, how do you answer that one? You could tell them Santa broke his leg this year, and had to call in a hell of a lot of back-up, or you could say they’re imposters, and that they’re on the naughty list.
My wife and I have a different Santa situation to deal with, before we have to think about how to lie about that one: My daughter is 3 ½ years-old, and we’re a bit torn on how to handle the whole Santa-existing thing. My wife doesn’t feel it’s right to lie about this imaginary guy giving gifts to our children, when it’s really us doing it. But how do we tell our daughter that Santa is fiction when everybody, including the teachers, the other parents, the department stores sales people, and the ad creators on TV, are in on the gag. Do we really want to make our daughter the outcast?
My wife would love to tell her the truth about the fat man and his flying reindeer. And so would I, especially that I’m Jewish. But the world isn’t kind to 31/2 year-old outcasts—kids could be cruel—so we have to protect her with a white-bearded, cookie-stealing lie. But on the other hand, this can open up a whole can of jelly beans. That one true lie about the red-nosed reindeer can get kids following the faith of a fake chocolate bunny icon. Now, it’s getting crazy: A Nestle rabbit didn't reincarnate, heal people and walk on water. Not to mention, where the hell is Jesus in all of this? Jesus!
Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of the son of God. Not the birth of a chimney-squeezing cookie stealer. And hears the real crazy part, that nobody talks about: Jesus Christ was Jewish. The last Supper was a Seder on Passover. He was Rabbi. He loved matzoh. And he was one hell of a dradle player.
So, have a merry egg-hunting bunny, elf toy-making, reindeer-flying, dradel-spinning, whatever you choose to tell your kids about the fat man xmas!