I’ve recently published an article for Island Family Magazine entitled, “Santa: Don’t Read This.” It is a manifesto, of sorts, for why our home celebrates the Christmas season with Santa lore and sleigh tracking and all manner of silliness. C.S. Lewis’ work has helped me put into words what has taken years for me to think through.
The full article is here: http://islandfamilymagazine.ca/. Click on “Flip Through This Issue” and go to page 47-48. Feel free to leave a comment at the Island Family Magazine facebook page. Here’s an excerpt:
Few figures stir up as much controversy in certain circles as Santa Claus. You may find it hard to imagine why this jolly old elf inspires any bad feelings at all, what with his merry dimples and rosy cheeks and his desire to give gifts to children the world over. But among parents of young children there are some who think that Father Christmas is not merely a magical part of a lovely winter holiday, or even a benign figment of our collective imaginations. No, for some he is actually a malevolent figure, evil incarnate, as if “Santa” is really a misspelling of another red-cloaked nefarious character, albeit one with horns and a spiked tail.
Granted, this last view is not all that common. Most parents I know that struggle with the idea of Santa have deeper, more personal reasons for not encouraging their children to believe in this overweight mythical gift-bringer. Some think that Père Noël represents the crass commercialization of what is supposed to be a holiday of peace and joy. Others are at a loss as to how to explain to their children why it seems like Santa skips big parts of the globe, mostly where the people are of a different religion or the kids are poor.
There is, however, one truly intriguing reason that some parents reject jolly old Saint Nick. As one mom put it to me recently, “I don’t want to lie to my children.” Another parent agreed, saying that if we lie to our kids about Santa, when they come to the age where they reject a belief in Santa Claus as a childish phase, they will also think their parents lied to them about God, or even love—both untouchable and invisible in their own ways. If I lie to my child about one thing, how can they trust me about other things? Will they one day reject belief in God or hope in love as childhood fads, adolescent beliefs that no longer fit in a world of global disasters and broken relationships?