Don't lie to your children
Written by Reg Wright
I grew up in a traditional Christian home. Sunday was a day of rest and we went to church. Christmas was a family occasion with the traditional Christmas tree and dinner. As a youngster I can recall hanging up my stocking (a pillow case actually) on Christmas eve and falling asleep with the full expectation that Santa would visit during the night and leave some gifts in my stocking. My parents would leave out a glass of lemonade and a piece of cake and on Christmas morning there was considerable excitement as I grabbed my stocking to see what presents were there. Sometimes Santa would leave a letter written with red ink. And, sure enough, the lemonade and cake were gone. Santa had surely visited during the night.
When I was about five my Santa Claus world fell apart. It was a most difficult year financially for my parents and the clouds of war were looming on the horizon. As we neared Christmas that year, my parents told me Santa would not be able to visit that coming Christmas as it was too dangerous for him to travel. Of course, I did not believe them and insisted on hanging up my stocking on Christmas eve.
Now a set of circumstances occurred which I will never forget. From time to time my dear Mother used to buy a box of muscatel grapes for herself. It was a little luxury she enjoyed and she kept her muscatel grapes on the top shelf in our kitchen cupboard. I knew they were there but they were of little interest to me.
On this particular Christmas morning I woke and grabbed my stocking. Sure enough there was a present there. I opened my stocking to find a box of muscatel grapes. I was really mystified. I said nothing but quietly went and looked on the top shelf of our kitchen cupboard and no muscatel grapes were there. It took me a while to think this through but, finally, I went to Mum and asked why her muscatel grapes were in my stocking. It was then that Mum told me that Santa Claus does not really exist and that the presents at Christmas time are put there by Dad and Mum while I slept. As they had no money that year for presents, the only thing they had in the house was Mum's muscatel grapes. Well, to say the least, I was stunned. It was a shock to find out that Santa did not exist. Everything said about him, with all his supposed wondrous ability to bring gifts from the north pole, was a lie.
As a boy I did not grasp the significance of this deception. This realisation came later as I grew older and was able to study for myself the origin of Santa Claus. I was surprised to learn Santa Claus is nothing but a figure recycled from ancient beliefs tied in with pagan midwinter festivals.
The trappings associated with Santa Claus -- his fur-trimmed clothing, sleigh and reindeer -- reveal his origin from the cold climates of the far North. Some sources trace him to the ancient Northern European gods Woden and Thor, from which the days of the week Wednesday (Woden's day) and Thursday (Thor's day) get their designations. Others trace him even farther back in time to the Roman god Saturn (honoured at the winter Saturnalia festival) and the Greek god Silenus. Santa Claus has nothing to do with the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I was loved by dear parents who are now deceased. There was nothing malicious in their teaching me and involving me in the fantasy about Santa Claus. They were simply following the tradition of many generations. But one cannot escape the fact that the Santa Claus myth is a profound deception. I determined that I would not continue this deception with my own children. I would not be found perpetuating this lie. I taught them the truth about Santa Claus. My children were not disadvantaged in any way. They received gifts from my wife and me at other times of the year.
If you are a parent who teaches your children not to lie, then do them a favour and don't lie to them about Santa Claus. Be parents of integrity and teach your children the truth about this mythical figure whose origin has no association whatsoever with the birth of Christ.
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