Including Santa Claus in the Christmas season hurts kids more than it helps

It’s finally December, a month for season’s greetings and holiday cheer. Christmas is just weeks away. Lights and decorations are adorning houses and stores all around the globe. But lurking just around the corner?

Lies. Deceit. Breaking and Entering. Trespassing.

These may all sound like elements of a late-night crime drama on television, but we all know the man responsible.

Yes. This year, I’m urging you all to say no to Santa.

Though at first it may sound shocking, upon closer inspection it can be proven that Santa Claus, as we have chosen to portray him, has no business in Christmas festivities.

From the moment Santa is introduced into a child’s life, parents must be voluntarily dishonest for a non-beneficial cause. Santa is not a little lie that has to be told to kids to protect them from harm.

The opposite may be true – while children who did not grow up believing that Santa was real have no negative memories attached to the subject, children whose beliefs were questioned by other kids throughout their younger years and then later destroyed by their parents often remember feeling hurt, saddened or betrayed.

It wouldn’t be considered healthy or normal to convince children Cinderella was real, especially not for the duration that the Santa lie is generally drawn out. It’s not beneficial for kids to have this blind faith, which often comes at the expense of their natural inquisitiveness. Instead of promoting healthy skepticism, parents usually distract from questions about Santa with more lies.

Santa is also a topic of bullying for some children. Unfortunately, kids who know the truth often pick on or single out those who don’t. Parents should not be setting up their child to be harassed.

And realistically, Santa isn’t a great role model. Besides the smoking we see him doing in “The Night Before Christmas” and that fact that he only seems to eat cookies, the popular children’s movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer“ actually shows him as a bully. He insists that Rudolph will never make the sleigh team due to his deformity, proving he is intolerant of dissimilarities. This is one of the first characters that children are taught to look up to; he shouldn’t be modeling anti-inclusive behaviors.

Santa might be a part of Christmas tradition, but there are so many other, better traditions to choose from. Caroling, baking cookies and spending time with family are all considered traditions. Giving and receiving gifts is perfectly fine, but it’s important that kids learn to give as a sign of love and compassion. Santa teaches kids only to receive, and only because they “were good all year.”

Many people defend Santa on those grounds: that he promotes good behavior. Yet, the system that is used to judge children as guilty or innocent is unfair and unjust. It teaches kids to behave well to be rewarded and avoid punishment, when the real lesson should be to behave well because you should. And whether good or bad, the threat of coal is never carried out. Likewise, the idea that a strange man is constantly watching their every movement is a disturbing image for kids to have to contemplate.

If Santa has to be a part of the holiday, then why not teach kids that he’s a fictional character, much like the Grinch? Parents wouldn’t have to lie to their kids, and their children would still get all the joy of a Santa-filled holiday. While it’s easy to say that Santa is just a story, there’s a difference between Santa and fairy tales. Children know that make-believe is not real, but they are taught that Santa is. For the sake of the kids, it’s better and easier to nix the Santa Claus lie.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2014 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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