Researchers are concerned that convincing kids to believe in Santa may be damaging to their mental health.
The fear is that by fooling children into believing in jolly Saint Nick, parents risk undermining a child’s trust and, according to two experts, the whole thing is morally suspect.
Or at least that’s the opinion of psychologist Professor Christopher Boyle and social scientist Dr Kathy McKay who also condemns the idea of an all knowing North Pole NSA style organisation spying on naughty and nice kids all over the planet.
In an article entitled A Wonderful Lie Boyle and McKay write:
Perhaps the biggest moral breach of the Christmas lie comes with the fact that one day, the truth comes out.
Children must all find out eventually that their parents have blatantly and consistently carried on a lie for a number of years. Children may find out from a third party, or through their parents getting bored of the make-believe and making a mistake; both might affect the trust that exists between child and parent.
And while I wish I could dismiss the theories of Boyle and McKay as the work of cotton-headed ninny muggins who are definitely on Santa’s naughty list, they are technically experts and know the subject better than I do.
Oh wait no it’s 2016 we’re living in a post truth world and we don’t need experts anymore so I choose to disagree.
As someone who was lied to by my parents about the existence of the big man on the Coke bottle (as was my sister, my friends and several of my colleagues) I have no issues with my parents over the red and white lie.
Why? Because I understand it came from a good place, they wanted Christmas to be magical and there was no malice in it. After all we spend the most of adult lives living in a crushingly mundane world so why not enjoy bit of magic while we can.
As to their other suggestion, that parents aren’t motivated by thoughts of their children and kindness but instead out of a selfish desire to re-live their own childhood I once again disagree.
While we can argue there’s no such thing as true altruism until we’re blue in the face, I don’t maintain the lie for kids in my life out of selfishness, I do it because I know they enjoy the fiction, it’s harmless.
The pair conclude that people yearn for a time when imagination was accepted and encouraged, which may not be the case in adult life. Might it be the case that the harshness of real life requires the creation of something better, something to believe in.
And all I can ask is: ‘What’s wrong with that?’