Holiday season is here. Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year - then right into Valentine's Day and Easter.
A growing movement of parents sees a rebellion against childhood fantasies of Trick or Treat, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny - as well as putting the kibosh on the Tooth Fairy, the Binky or Paci Fairy (that's the fairy who 'helps' wean a child off a pacifier) and other childhood milestones and beliefs.
The main reason cited is that it's wrong to lie to a child. There is no Santa or Easter Bunny, really, and it's Mom or Dad who really leaves a dollar under the pillow of a newly gap toothed child, not the Tooth Fairy. So why make stuff up? Why fill a kid's head with stuff that's not even true? Dad eats those cookies by the fireplace - not Santa!
Forums abound on the Internet, with parents questioning if it's really ok to make this stuff up about the likes of some plump guy in the North Pole making it around the world in 24 hours to drop off gifts to the entire world. Carted around the world by a set of flying reindeer, no less. And when the inevitable happens - our kids find out none of this is true - will they be crushed? Never trust us again? Start lying themselves because they learned it from us?
People argue that it's 'fraud' and 'deception' towards our children and warn us that Trick or Treat is an invitation for the devil to enter our hearts.
As a parent, I have to ponder this. For about, oh, 3 seconds. I've picked my side. I'm going with Santa. And the Tooth Fairy. And don't start me on Trick or Treat, I love it! There is no devil being invited into my heart, although an extra few pounds is invited onto my belly from all those irresistible peanut butter cups. It's all good - nothing an extra hour or two on the Elliptical can't take care of.
There's lying, and there's lying. I don't tell my kids that their vaccinations won't hurt and then hold them as they cry in fright and pain. I let them know it'll sting just for a second or two and it'll all be over with. I don't tell them weird stuff like their hair will turn purple or their feet will turn inwards if they don't eat their vegetables.
But childhood fantasy? Santa? Fairies, pixies, and flying unicorns? I'm down for that. It's the magic of childhood - the imagination and thrill of reading ancient stories and myths that cause us to catch our breaths with the magic of it all! Wondering if our toys come alive at midnight and just knowing that our doll can really talk, if she could just trust us enough! Loving the thrill as our eyes widen on Christmas Eve, wondering if that creak was Santa delivering on his promises and the grip of joy in our bellies as we race downstairs the next day to the enchantment of it all.
If we fall apart once we realize that Dad ate Santa's cookie and the Easter Bunny was actually an acting student from the local community college, then we'd probably be the type to fall apart anyway.
Being a grown up can be tough. Grim reality sets in pretty quickly. And while life can be wonderful for us as adults - we face problems and concerns that our children thankfully never have to. At least not yet.
So as the holiday season fast approaches, I say let's let the magic of childhood continue for our children, and even for us - if we're willing to let our practicalities go for a while, and remember how magically delightful childhood can be.
What is your take on childhood beliefs like Santa or the Tooth Fairy? Fantasy and fun, or fake and fraud?
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