Because if you lie Father Christmas wont give you any presents. He’ll zoom right past – on his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer – and go to the house next door; regardless of how much Sherry (do we still do that or has drink driving kicked that into touch?), mince pies and carrots you leave at the bottom of the chimney.
Now forgive me for my naivety because I’m pretty new to this parenting lark – and bear in mind I’ve not even thought about Santa for about thirty years – but having realised his ‘presence’ in the world is something I have will have to reconsider.
Am I really going to have to continue this façade?
As a new father I constantly challenge myself about how I am to perform my new role, a role I know very little about. One thing I’m sure of is that I’m determined to be completely honest with the information I pass onto my daughter; and thus I would like to avoid being in the position where I would have to lie to her about anything.
I understand that I might be selective in how much of the reality of the world I share with her and obviously there are some things that I will have to soften and perhaps manipulate to address my young audience; but on the whole I want to be truthful and fair to her.
But I am concerned where that leaves Papa Noel?
At this stage in her life my daughter is only interested in the flashing lights and baubles of Christmas, and next year will probably be the same – maybe with some heavy duty cardboard box action; but at some point in the not too distant future the old St. Nicklaus story is going to have to be discussed.
And I am worried by that.
I want to be a parent that encourages my daughter to learn about the world around her without influencing too much on the views that she takes. If I can honestly share my knowledge with her whilst empowering her to question my beliefs then I hope that this will lead her to develop her own opinions and make her own choices on the path of her life. And I’d like to think that regardless of whether her attitudes and feelings differ from my own I’d support and accept without judgment her choices, be those on politics, religion or Rugby League.
But I do wonder whether establishing a lie that convinces her that that an (eternally) old man will deliver presents (made by elves in the north pole) to the foot of her bed; knowing full well that at some point in the future I am going to have to renege on that information, is the best start to achieving this truthful and honest relationship.
And I’m also worried that by continuing this myth; sustaining the story that my parents told me, and their parents before them- reinforcing that falsehood every year for several years until the spell is broken – the lie painfully discovered (I remember it well) do I set her up perfectly for the life of consumerism, that I have so defiantly strived to escape.
Or do I ‘spoil Christmas’ by refusing to subscribe to that particular fantasy?
But will that alienate her from her peers? Will the whole family be ostracized from Christmas parties because we have chosen not to partake in this hereditary consumerist charade?
And don’t get me wrong; I’m not going to be the guy at the magic show whispering in her ear “it’s up his sleeve”.
But the magic of Father Christmas isn’t simply watching a magician perform tricks in front of you it is something you have to actively be involved in; as a parent you are the magicians assistant.
And it isn’t the coming down the chimney delivering presents aspect of the Santa lie that I am most concerned of; it’s the endorsement of consumerism as a whole, especially at Christmas, that worries me the most.
By inviting Father Christmas into our house – so to speak- do I also as a consequence of that yearly lie automatically validate and approve of the spending frenzy that Christmas has become?
And what about the main man himself, after all, he is THE biggest celebrity endorsement you can get, and it seems he isn’t that selective of what he advertises. Am I in turn validating all of the products he endorses?
In the way that brightly advertised children’s cereals is really just the start of the downward spiral into a lifetimes sugar addiction, isn’t Santa just a jolly, and all round lovely socially acceptable introduction to our children into the whole horrible consumerist world?
And whilst I am considering the lies that I will probably end up telling my child to ‘fit in with society’; where does that leave the tooth fairy?
At least she hasn’t sold out to commercialism.
Though I’d love to see the advert if she ever did – a massive billboard – a big smile – bottle of coke in one hand and a bag of rotten teeth in the other.