Friday, December 05, 2008

The Big Lie

I admit I feel somewhat ambiguous about teaching my children that there's a guy named Santa who gets their letters and brings them gifts once a year and, most impossibly, lives at the North Pole. It's a straight up lie and that line about him being "the spirit of Christmas" doesn't fly with me. However, I'm into it because the bottom line is - it's fun to believe. I don't recall being devastated when I discovered the truth, I'd long suspected it. I felt that acknowledging the truth about Santa was a right of passage. And so, Jeremiah and I are enthusiastically perpetuating this delightful fiction.

Tonight Kate selected Twas the Night Before Christmas before bed. I always have to explain a good deal of it. "What are coursers?", "What's a thistle?", "What does it mean to dash away?" Sarah, having already heard the book she'd selected (David Smells!) quickly grew disinterested and began climbing the ladder to Kate's bed. As we concluded the classic poem Kate told me what Santa is going to bring her. I asked if she'd been good all year and explained that if she hadn't Santa would be bringing her a lump of coal. During our behavioral modification discussion Kate noticed her sister clamoring into her bed. "NOOOOOOOOO! SARAH GET OUT OF MY BED RIGHT NOW!" she yelled, too close to my ear.

"Yelling at your sister, " I intoned, "will rate you one lump of coal." Before a single instant passed Kate changed her stance, tilted her head all Southern Belle and sweetly revamped her request. "Sarah, " she drawled "will you please get out of my bed? I'd rather you not be in it." Big smile.

The Santa Lie is awesome.


The Plaid Sheep said...

The parent who invented Santa was obviously no fool.

FlapScrap said...

The Santa lie is the gateway to the god lie, and the stakes get higher. I'd use the Joseph Campbell approach with it -- beautiful myths. Just a week ago a kid whom I was driving from movie to ice cream asked me if it was true and I said, "No, it's a STORY! Lot's of people tell different versions of it. Let's try to make the story even better." And we reviewed all we knew of the story, like at a script meeting. Know what she came up with to punch up the narrative? Instead of elves, it's runaway kids who used to know the kids they're making toys for -- they know exactly who's been bad or good. We weren't happy with the reindeer.

LMP said...

I like that twist on the bit with the elves...that just makes more sense.

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith said...

See kids, Joseph and Mary had a baby, not in a house or a hospital, but in a barn. It wasn't actually their baby, it was God's. By the way, it was an immaculet conception.

What's an immaculet conception?

See kids, Joseph and Mary never actually ... they didn't do ... when a man and a woman ...

Why did an all-powerful God need Joseph and Mary involved at all? Why not just have Jesus pop in from nowhere, like Elizabeth Montgomery or Barack Obama? That would have been no less covert than forcing a virgin and her unsuspecting boyfriend to deal with pregnancy and childbirth. Or why not just have Joe and Mary make a baby the old fashioned way? What's wrong with that? Is that wrong?

See kids, Santa's a big fat happy guy who lives on top of the world! With a bunch of elves who make toys!! And he gives them to kids all around the world, and he is going to give some to YOU!!!!