In the spirit of Kaimi’s Christmas themed post, I offer another musing on the season. My wife Cirila and I have a two-year old. He is just becoming aware of Christmas-time and all the stuff that goes with it. As a result, Cirila and I have been trying to forge a unified front on the all-important issue of Santa Claus.
As I see it, there are three approaches:
1) Teach him the myth — Santa comes down the chimney (or fire-escape or garbage chute for us apartment dwellers) and delivers toys for good boys and girls based on what he learns from them at the local mall.
2) Tell him the truth — Santa is the embodiment of the joy of giving and a symbol of the season. Have fun with it, kid, but Mom and Dad are the ones you need to butter up. That guy with the Santa suit at the ward Christmas party is the bishop.
3) The “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach — Let him pick up what he will from his peers and TV and whatnot, but neither encourage the myth nor explicitly disavow it. When asked, just shrug or say “what do you think?”
For those with kids (or not) — which do you do?
I have heard some (well, one) Mormon mother argue that because faith in God is the fundamental thing she’s trying to teach her kids, it would be too confusing to also teach or even encourage a belief in Santa. In other words, if Mom fools them with Santa, won’t they think that God is just another one of Mom’s comforting stories?
Now that seems too Grinch-y for me, but is there something to it? Will Santa Claus undermine a child’s will to believe?