The Santa Clause Delusion

Santa Clause KFC

Does anyone on here see a problem with parents collaborating to deceive children into believing in Santa Clause? There is an argument that Santa Clause encourages kids to be less critical thinkers, and that the story is perpetuated more for the pleasure of parents than the children. Is it better for kids to know their parents gave the presents?

The common argument is anyone who argues against this is “ruining the magic of Christmas.” Well can’t you still have the Santa Clause tradition without lying to your kids? Like tell them there is no Santa, but we’re just going to pretend it’s real? Actually when you go that far it sounds silly which is why I bet no one does it.

A lot of people say, “No one cares.” Well you have to keep in mind that we are no longer children; I cannot remember how distraught I must have been when I figured out the truth about Santa, but I am sure there are children who figure it out much sooner than 12 and cry over it. Is it worth lying to your children or having them distrust you or dislike you? I doubt it. A parent will naturally be caught in many other lies and half-truths.

>The “It makes kids skeptical defense”

toradora angel donut
By way of analogy, on other forums we have discussed whether it is worth it for Atheists to send their children to church. That way they could 1) experience the wonder and aesthetics 2) be culturally literate. The parents would then pull the rug out from under them at middle school and say, “We never believed that in the first place. We have been lying to you this whole time, to encourage you to be skeptical.”

The consensus was it was a bad idea, would soften the mind by exposing them to Sunday school brainwashing, and it would just make your kid hate you. Now your child would think you were a liar and would distrust everything you said, rather than having a more reasonable degree of skepticism.

Also we do a bad job of making Santa Clause something kids can be reasonably skeptical about. If you lived in the first world and all adults and newspapers told you there was a Santa clause and provided rationalizations, a six year old would have reason to believe someone much older should know better. (This is where hierarchy of beliefs works the other way.) The kid would not have the experience to see through it, and It would seem more probable, especially if all (of most) of your friends received gifts they attributed to Santa.

If you alone received nothing, even if your family was poor you would initially assume it was because you were naughty that year. Only after years of not being naughty, and receiving information that contradict Santa’s existence (reindeer can’t fly, there is no magic, there are no elves, no one lives at the north pole, the world is vastly populated and it would take X time for Santa to visit every house) would you begin to become skeptical. The child still does not have the data to make an informed decision and must rely on the opinions of adults.

its a miserable life

Btw, before anyone accuses me of being “Anti-Christmas” (as if you’re not entitled to dislike “happy things”), I do actually enjoy various holiday traditions. I also like the final evolution of Santa Clause/Father Christmas and his mythology, although St. Nicholas is rather lame.



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