Silly question right?! Well you would think that, but I recently read an article in The Telegraph that discussed how Scientists have conjured a crazy grinch like theory that parents are in fact traumatising their children by ‘lying’ to them about a non existent jolly red clad present over that visits you at Christmas. Dr Kathy McKay has published an article in The Lancet Psychiatry detailing how we are ‘undermining’ our children’s trust at this festive season which will later damage their mental state and question the trust between them and their parents. So is Santa a hideous lie or a magical belief that we should indulge our children’s imaginations in?
“If they [parents] are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continued as the guardians of wisdom and truth?”
I think that if she can go as far as to say that Santa is ‘something so special and magical’ then why would it be bad to spark imagination on our children and let them believe in a hopeful and inspiring myth.
And is it so much of a lie really? I mean Saint Nicholas was a real person, dubbed a Saint after he was recognised for his kindness to others; hence the transition to Kris Kringle, Santa Claus or Old Saint Nick, the giver of kindness in the form of wrapped bundles of festive goodness.
Surely if we tell our children from an early age that Santa is not real, then we are making them ‘lie’ to their peers at school or neighbours who do still believe? Is that right? Making our children lie to keep the dreams of others alive? Or would Dr McKay suggest that our children should be the crusher of children’s dreams?
If this amazingly magical myth is being claimed tedious and ‘damaging’ then where is the line drawn? Should we therefore, by the Dr’s logic, not indulge in any fantasies of holiday characters or historic figures that we cannot scientifically prove? What about religion? God?
I myself had a beautifully magical and creative childhood and now treasure memories of the joy of waking Christmas morning to a stocking filled with lovingly wrapped treasures. I have many yuletide traditions that my parents started when we were children that I am hoping to pass on to my own little man to instil the magic and imagination of Christmas.
Dr McKay has gone as far as to also suggest that talking to their children about Father Christmas is merely a selfish desire to relive their own childhood. Well what is so wrong about that? If you have fond memories of the festive season, of kindness and giving, of family and warmth, then why not encourage the same morals in our children? I hope that the Christmas season enhances my small princes already amazing kindness, gratitude and warmth of spirit.
In the words of Cliff… Christmas is ‘a time for giving’ and imagination in the magical and the hopeful. I for one am so happy to be encouraging this in my little man and have absolutely to fear that I am damaging our relationship; he will look back fondly at our warm, kind and magical family Christmas Day.
The lovely Mama over at The Mum Reviews has some interesting thoughts on this debate too so hop on over and have a read… join the debate!
What is your stance on this festive season and the belief in Father Christmas?
Do you believe?