Santa – The Shameless Lie

There’s an anorexic Santa that resides in a central Huangdao shopping center. He’s quite the trim, bespectacled figure with a benevolent, grandfatherly face. If I remember correctly, I believe he’s without a sack too. Oh well, less gifts for all the kids this year. At least the Chinese know that even though he’s a falsity, he’s a useful commercial gimmick. Hence the anorexic Santa.

But many of us Americans have lived under a delusion for quite some time that this jovial, portly, rosy-cheeked gift bearer exists and distributes presents to all the boys and girls around the world (except for select parts of Asia, Africa, and all of Antarctica). Even worse, we have shamelessly lied to our own children about the existence of this person. Mom and dad work tirelessly to give their kids a delightful Christmas, and Santa gets all the credit. That is just not right.

And every mom and dad knows that one day their kid will know the truth, the devastating reality that this Santa was in fact a non-entity. He never has and never will exist. Now their kid will have to accept that fact, and perhaps a level of trust will be lost between the child and his parents. I mean, if Santa isn’t real, then perhaps the child will question his need to go to school. Sure his parents say it’s good for him, but isn’t that just another great falsehood perpetuated by grown-ups?

And then there’s the child’s enlightened acquaintances who either never believed in Santa or discovered the truth of his non-existence and now mock and belittle their poor friend who thought that Santa was a real person. Now the child cannot trust his parents and feels shame among his friends. And yes, I would say the blame falls on Santa and those who perpetuate the lie.

Now, I admit I speak a bit facetiously here. And I’m certainly not bashing Christmas in any way. I love everything about Christmas – carefully selecting a bushy tree from the Home Depot backlot, covering every single branch with ornaments, tearing open presents on Christmas Day, and consuming more calories in one day than I usually consume in a week. And of course, there’s all the festive parties with those bizarre White Elephant gifts and my sugar-infused cousins using the house as an indoor race track. Oh yes, and the roast turkey and green beans followed by a delightful assortment of desserts that usually leave me in a food stupor.

It’s a wonderful season. But it would be even more wonderful without the Great Falsehood popping down chimneys and consuming inordinate amounts of milk and cookies. Maybe in China the anorexic Santa could manage, but surely not a portly one. And honestly, could a 300-pound bearded man really squeeze down a chimney? I’ll let you answer that on your own.

So what’s the solution you may ask? Some of you may say I have a vendetta against this innocent, jolly and very generous man. I would just say this. Kids can certainly believe in Santa if they wish, but I don’t think parents should propagate the lie of his existence to their kids. And if they do, well I certainly won’t stop you. But just beware of the emotional fallout.

Well, I believe I’ve completed my Santa rant. And for any of those seething with anger towards me or utterly shocked at my anti-Santa spirit, I would just like to remind you that this is a time of cheer and good will toward all people. So whether you believe in Santa or not, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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