Heath Hutcheson, Campus Carrier staff writer
The legend of Santa Claus is an idea that spans back generations for the Christmas Holiday. The idea, spawned from the patron Saint Nicholas’ acts of goodwill from centuries ago, lives on today not as a remembrance of the saint’s legacy, but as a completely disassociated icon of the season. However, what Santa has become is really a strange concept. Somehow, as a society, we have collectively decided that lying to our children about the existence of Santa is okay. Logically speaking, that sounds immoral. However, I think that keeping that illusion alive for children is not only a good thing, but an essential thing.
We were all once a child, and we all remember how powerful and real every concept presented to us could seem, as wild and impossible as they may sound now. Santa Claus was one of those concepts for many of us, and his character was something tangible, something that excited us, but also was preparing us for something important. As we grow up, we realize that life is full of disappointments. At some point we have to come to terms with the fact that all that glitters is not gold. One day we have to accept the fact Santa was never real. That is the first of many eventual major disappointments we must face which prepare us as we mature, but the magic of Santa does not disappear from that point on, it changes form.
Santa Claus is a symbol of the kindness and wonder of the Christmas season, as seen through the eyes of a child. His importance as an icon cannot be understated, and a major part of the character’s staying power has been due to the way in which parents bring the magic to life for their children. No two parents will present the Santa Claus myth to their children in the exact same way. Some make up stories, tales of when they were younger and heard footsteps on the roof or found snowy footprints in their living room. When adults become parents they are presented with a new opportunity – to become the magic makers.
This cycle of magic-witnessing to magic-fabricating creates a wondrous rhythm of creativity and inspiration. Some might even dress up and pretend to be the real deal or construct elaborate train rides and attractions for the sake of providing joy to the children all over the world. Whatever the method may be, each child will have, to some degree, a unique experience of Santa Claus. This factor of uniqueness is just one of many that make the spirit of childhood, as reflected by Santa Claus, such a vital thing to hold onto.
So yes, we should lie about Santa. I myself have countless memories of how my parents used to tell me stories about how they saw Santa flying overhead as we set up cookies or they wrote me letters claiming it to be from Santa. They would leave footprints of dust from the chimney around the room just to make it all the more real for me. We had a tradition where we would go on a train ride in Tennessee every year where they would pretend the train was flying and we were going to the North Pole. It was surprisingly immersive and incredibly exciting.
I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world. Memories like that are precious and every child is deserving of that kind of magic in their lives. The legacy of this generational kindness and love enhances the meaning of the holiday tenfold. The magic that Santa’s character brings is undoubtedly something well worth preserving, and to let it die out would be a travesty beyond which words could express. The spirit of childhood innocence is something to be cherished and there is no better time to let that spirit shine than in the holiday season.