Displeasure Parenting Stunt 2007


*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Santa Claus is a big pile of bollocks. He’s what you get when you take two historical figures who are famous for gift bringing, blend them together, allow it to ferment for about 100 years until a dominant form emerges that bears little resemblance to either of the originals, hijack it for advertising purposes, and then continue using it for advertising purposes for another 80 years.

“You cynical bastard, ” some whiney git whines, “are you going to deny your son the tradition of Christmas?”

That depends, I reply. Are you talking about the tradition of giving? Or the tradition of demanding? The tradition of generosity? Or the tradition of shopping?

Once upon a time, Santa had good intentions. But now, he’s a corporate shill.

“But, ” the whiney whinotrope continues to whine, “children are innocent and beautiful. They don’t understand such foulness. They are incapable of conceiving such things. To them, Santa is a good man, for he brings them gifts.”

Exactly, I reply. Isn’t it our duty to protect children from the things that will cause them harm? If they don’t understand the dangers of wanton consumption and the worship of consumerism, surely we should be keeping them as far from it as possible, rather than burying our heads in the sand and saying “Oh, I’m sure it won’t do any long-term damage. We can always un-train them later.”

I’d love to be able to embrace Santa Claus. Like Jesus Christ, I agree with everything that he stands for. But his legacy has been poisoned by the people who have co-opted him for their own profit. I think that everyone knows this, but most people are too afraid to act on it. There’s pressure coming from all directions to perpetrate this destructive tradition.

And then there’s the whole magic/lies argument, which needs no introduction. In a nutshell (hmmm, apparently it *does* need an introduction) you’ve got “I shall tell my child the truth” versus “I shall let my child believe in magic, for innocence passes so fleetingly, and magic is fun.” Both sides of the coin have their pros and cons. I’m going to play that one by ear, I think. Half of my brain wants to encourage honesty, truth and trust with my son, but the other half wants to give him a memorable childhood that is full of wonder and awe and mystery. Pffft, exaggerated shrugging action.

*Next week’s stunt post will be on the subject of Christmas decorations – look out for it on Monday.*