We’ve all been there… waking up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to discover it is not, in fact, an overweight, bearded man stuffing our stocking, but our parents or other caregiver.
Reindeers munching on carrots are replaced with the household pet being served them chopped up in their Christmas morning breakfast.
Santa’s booze and mince pies are scoffed instead by peckish mums and dads, and the dirty footprints you thought were a sure sign of Father Christmas were really just your grandpa.
You’re the cool one in school if you know the goss about the biggest scam of the century. But should children even be allowed to believe in Santa in the first place? Is it moral, fair or setting a good precedent for the future?
It may seem like a sweet and exciting idea to give children something to look forward to each year. The thrill of presents and the ability for parents to use Santa as a threat for good behaviour – Father Christmas appears to be a mutually beneficial belief for all involved – but is it fair to sell children a lie?
Children may realise that Santa Claus’ existence is mythical eventually, but some parents view it as a complicated issue, because of children being lied to from a young age. Some see it as encouraging tale-telling and enforcing a distrustful relationship, as highlighted by Jacqueline Woolley, professor of psychology at The University of Texas.
However, according to studies, as per UT News, the revelation that a large man doesn’t actually fly around the world on a sledge chartered by reindeer isn’t actually too much of a hard hit for kids. Moreover, any upset caused by the shattering of dreams is normally only short-lived.
It has been argued by some that believing in Santa is also just a healthy engagement in fantasy, just like watching Harry Potter or any animated world on television is.
Subsequently, not allowing children to believe in Santa would be like not allowing them to have an imagination.
Furthermore, it’s even been suggested that children develop key investigative skills from interrogating and realising that Christmas may not be all that it first cracks up to be.
So, rather than children’s hearts being broken from the discovery that Santa is a fraud, children should reportedly be made to feel a sense of achievement, to feel included in being let in on the secret, both tactics of which can help soften the blow.
The world is bleak enough already, surely we can continue a few years of magic, not having to be faced with the often cold, harsh and unhappy truth of the real world.
I mean – you still get presents right?
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