I know I sound like a jerk for even making the comparison, but just hear me out.
And let me begin with sharing my personal situation. I grew up without Santa in part because my mom was still upset about being lied to as a child and in part because they were very religious and it's not about Santa. While I recognize that these are legit objections, I still felt robbed as a child. I was alone in my knowledge and therefore lack of excitement surrounding this magical part of Christmas. There was no wonder or mystery to contemplate. So I "do Santa" in my own way now, but due to my observations over the years and in light of recent events, the era of Santa might be over for my family.
But comparing the Santa system to Harvey Weinstein and the #metoo movement? Is that going too far? So tell me, which one isn't a fat beardy man with whom you have no relationship that holds all the power and promises to give you gifts if you're "good" or cut you out if you displease him? Which one is not surrounded by a web of lies, manipulation, and spies? For which one do you not have to cross your bodily boundaries to sit on their lap in order to get what you want? Who of these is not surrounded by a great number of people who guard and perpetuate his shameful "open-secret"?
I can't help but consider that Santa has turned into a bit of a groomer and a few other things that I don't want shaping my children. Is it bad enough to be that "buzz kill" mom? Let's look at it as it relates to what I value most in parenting my kids, in no particular order.
I believe the foundation of having a lasting influence in your child's life is founded on trust. For the parent this means building up a body of evidence that convinces your child that you are worthy of their trust. Taking advantage of their natural trust as a young child lays a groundwork for when they become older. I would imagine that the kids, who are so angry and hurt when they find out Santa isn't real, are not so mad about the end of the magic as they are about having been deceived by the people they trust most. And the age of figuring it out usually closely aligns with the developmental stage of beginning to question parents.
If I go to great lengths to deceive my child in the name of "fun" what does that say about what I value most? What kind of example is it? Is having fun a good excuse for lying? Or even worse, perhaps the best benefit of Santa to parents is the lingering threat of losing out on "gifts", on having a sad and left out Christmas day, and it's power to threaten them into good behavior. So the grooming begins, please a strange old man with great power and wealth, if you want gifts.
Continue to Part 2