A post a while back by Marcy made me think about kids and Santa - mainly, if it was "lying" to your children to let them believe in Santa Claus, knowing he's not real. This morning, my students (6th grade, 11-12 years old) were talking about where their parents "hide" the Christmas presents, so I had the brilliant idea of asking them whether they thought parents should propagate this fantasy with their children (we've been studying persuasive appeals in language arts, I thought it fit in nicely - should parents tell kids the truth, or let them believe this childhood myth?)
There was a general outcry among the students - how dare I say Santa isn't real? What was I talking about? Santa is too real!!! (I had one kids yell across the room at an anti-Santaist, "If you don't believe in Santa, then you don't believe in God! Santa is God's helper, just like the Easter Bunny - God can't do it all, so he has people help him, like Jesus." Personally, I thought this went a tad bit too far, but - as has been pointed out to me before, by people with kids - I don't have kids, so what do I know.)
As I tried to retrieve the foot firmly entrenched in my mouth, I modified the assignment - write a persuasive paper telling me if Santa is real or not.
By the time I finished reading them, Grinch McScrooge that I am, even I was believing in jolly ol' St. Nick.
"Why do you not get every present you want for Christmas? Because your parents aren't going to buy you a pony."
"All these Christmas jingles and Christmas specials on TV are for kids, none of them are for adults. That is because adults never have the time for those. They are too busy shopping for presents from 'Santa Claus.'"
"... I asked my mom if she puts the gifts under the tree and she said, 'Would I ever get you those things that you got?'" "... and my dad is just as happy to get the electronics as we are."
"It's true Santa may not be real in flesh and blood. That's why so many parents dread the coming question, 'Mommy, is Santa real?' from their children. I've asked that question and got an answer, but I still believe that a little Christmas spirit can turn anyone into the jolly old man kids call Santa."
"I believe Santa Claus is very real and so do millions of other children of the world, because they know that seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing."
"Pleasure to the mind is not to try finding facts but to let your mind fly and believe."
"Many people have popped the question, 'Is that big-bellied, red-suit-wearing, white-bearded, magical man of the holidays, Santa Claus, real or just a myth?' Well, that is a question that many believed they can answer but truly are forgetting why you should believe in Santa Claus. Santa Claus reminds us to give and love during Christmas, he implies that the holidays are more than just a commercial season. Old Saint Nick is more than believing with your eyes but is believing with your heart. So even if [the half-eaten cookies and drunken milk] can't get you to believe, if you look deep down in yourself you can hear the sleigh bells ring."
For me, the Spirit of Christmas comes in the form of Jesus - y'know, that whole "reason for the season" stuff? - but for people who don't have that in their lives, it's nice to see that someone is keeping that alive for them. In a way.