VIGILANT parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, teachers and strangers, with or without candy, you are now green lighted to tell children there is no Santa Claus. No jolly fat man. No rosy cheeked harbinger of the holiday season. Nothing. There is nothing out there. It’s all a retail lie.
But we’re only telling you this because we love you and are responsible adults who do not want to be blamed for your therapy bills when you’re thirty.
You may, however, believe in the Krampus because every kid should be afraid that some demon with horns and bad breath is going to drag them off to Hell on Christmas Eve. Hey, kid, you been naughty? All that’s gonna be left of you is a lump of tar black coal.
Paging Clement Clarke Moore to the courtesy phone. Could we please have a little magic over here on The Night Before Christmas?
Thanks to two killjoys, Christopher Boyle, a psychologist, and a “mental health researcher” named Kathy McKay over at the University of Exeter (GB) writing in the December issue of The Lancet Psychiatry, parents and well-meaning grown-ups everywhere are cautioned to be careful what they say. And watch the fairy tales while you’re at it.
In an over-statement of histrionic proportions, they write: “If they (parents et al) are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?”
Let’s just dump this muppet flail right back in the kid’s lap, shall we? If I’m a kid and my Mom and Dad tell me there’s a Santa, and Dad goes all Clark Griswold with decorations and eggnog, and the Big Night Before arrives and we set out milk and cookies, should I be suspicious? I’m maybe seven and my tiny ego is only half-formed and the tedious reliance on myth and magic is such a trial for the spirit. I’ll be under the couch reading the DSM-5.
I mean, if my pet tarantula, Skippy, dies it’s OK for these same adults to lie to me because it’s “nicer.” As this duo writes: “An adult comforting a child and telling them that their recently deceased pet will go to a special place (animal heaven) is arguably nicer than telling graphic truths about its imminent re-entry into the carbon cycle.”
I want to believe The Lancet is having us on. A bit of fun to lighten up the leaden weight of 2016. If you want to give yourself a treat it’s right there just under Football Therapy and just above To the Batcave.
Is it OK if we keep some magic in our lives? Is it OK if part of us never grows up and starts to believe that maybe Santa isn’t real? Is it OK for adults to tell a child that Santa doesn’t exist and he never did and to do this before the child has a chance to make up his or her own mind? Is being a “grown up” really code for being a self-righteous killjoy?
I want to suggest that Mr. Boyle and Ms. McKay go soak their two heads in a vat of eggnog and leave the magic to the rest of us in this weary fragile world.
Is Santa real? You bet. I have a small silver sleigh bell and a half eaten carrot I’ve had since I was a kid. You want to see them? I’d be happy to share. Magic isn’t magic if you keep it to yourself.
Thank you to Santa and the other nice folks at the North Pole for never giving up on us, even when it seems we give up on ourselves. Now, everybody back to your knitting.