December 9, 2013
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I don’t recall how it was taught, but right from my very earliest memories of Christmas I knew that most of my gifts came from Santa Claus. Of course there were other gifts from family members, but the most important ones came from Santa Claus.
We lived in a rural area, there were no malls or mall Santas. We did most of our shopping from the mail order catalogues. But Santa showed up at Christmas concerts to distribute gifts from his sack and he snuck into homes in the night before Christmas to deliver more gifts.
Then my parents told me that Santa Claus didn’t exist. It was all just a story to amuse children. I was shocked. That meant that my parents had been lying to me all along about Santa. What else had they been telling me that was just a story to fool little children?
I got over the shock and eventually I got over the suspicion, too. My parents were actually straight arrow honest people. But as I grew older, I resolved that I would never lie to my own children about things like Santa Claus.
Nowadays, when I stroll through a mall and observe a screaming tot being deposited on the lap of the mall Santa so the parents can have a cute photo, I wonder if the Santa story wasn’t always more for the amusement of the parents than for the children.
Maybe the Santa Claus myth is just a harmless fantasy, but still I don’t really think so. It’s just another of the barnacles that has attached itself to the celebration of Jesus’ birth to distract our attention from the main character.