You know what REALLY bugs me about Santa? He only delivers to Christians. What if a kid who was Jewish got sucked into the Santa fantasy by his Christian friends and he went home and asked why he never got presents on Christmas, the parents would be forced to either tell him "Santa doesn't exist" which he would tell his friend (who would either believe him and tell their parents or call him a liar and get mad at him) or tell the kid that Santa is (for lack of a better word) racist to Jewish people.
Really? Never heard that one before. I thought he delivered to those who celebrated Christmas, Christian or otherwise. Anyway, it may have to do with St. Nicholas, the Christian saint who served as the inspiration for Santa. Also, since this hypothetical kid is Jewish... well, let's just say that the big man in red isn't exactly the first thing you think of when you think of Hanukkah.
Yes, but Santa's everywhere! On people houses, decorated on wrapping paper, even advertising your favorite sodas!
Christmas isn't only considered a Christian holiday anymore. Just tell the kid "Santa isn't real. Your parents are either poor or they hate you."
I was raised a Muslim (but who did have Christians in the family, so got some Christmas presents), and it was never an issue. My parents told me Father Christmas wasn't real, but not to go on about it, as it'd upset the other kids. However, I was also an insufferable know-it-all and still got in quite serious trouble (yeah, really) for telling all the other 5-6 year olds Santa wasn't real. My two sisters coped fine with it, though...
Christmas isn't exactly a religious celebration nowadays anyway. I am atheist and yet celebrate Christmas, and while my family are religious I know plenty of atheist families/families of other religions who celebrate it.
Just real quick, would that mean that if I, a Christian, wanted to celebrate Hanukkah for no reason other than wanting to celebrate it, nothing's stopping me?
Sure, why not? There ain't no holiday police going around telling people what they can or can't celebrate.
Also, Channukah is more or less about as sacred as V-J Day. Everyone knows that the Council of Rabbis made up the thing about the flame burning for seven days to make sure there wasn't an official celebration of military victory. The holiday is so religiously insignificant, nobody would be offended, or even care.
It's a religious holiday for many people. My family always emphasizes "the reason for the season". Plenty of atheists celebrate the secular aspects of it, and of course there's Christmas in Japan, but Jews and Muslims have their own holidays separate from the traditionally Christian ones. So the hypothetical Jewish kid who wants to know why Santa Claus won't give him any gifts is still a valid point.
Christmas = Christ + Mass. Holiday = Holy + Day. Similarly, X is Greek for Christ, so you cannot even get away with saying it is not religious by pointing out the spelling "Xmas" or "X-mas". Removing Christ from the holiday removes the holiday. Yes, you can celebrate Christmas without being Christian, but then there would be no real reason to celebrate it. It would be like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups without the peanut butter: all you have left is a piece of Hershey's chocolate in a strange shape. It would be pointless have a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup without the Reese's peanut butter, and pointless to have Christmas without Christ. There are actual secular holidays around the same eetime. Winter Solstice, HumanLight, Festivus (not just a Seinfeld thing), Boxing Day, and, for African-Americans, Kwanzaa.
Fine, but if we can't have Christmas, you can't have trees, mistletoe, stockings, gift-giving, decorating with lights, Yule logs... All that stuff you took from the religions you conquered. Oh, and Santa, of course.
I've never heard of Santa Clause only delivering presents to Christians except in movies or TV and it was always in programs with a Jewish background or theme. Be sure that the majority of people who celebrate "Christmas" (or "X-mas" or "The Holidays", never mind which one...) are not actually devout Christians these days, they don't necessarily believe in the deity of Jesus or even go to church. Santa Claus is not the religious element of the holiday (at least it's not the Christian element, it might actually count as a religion for the children who believe it) celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is (because he is God come into his creation). As far as I can figure the reason some jewish people say "Santa only delivers gifts to christians" is because most jewish parents don't want their kids celebrating the birth of Jesus and they have to tell them some reason why they don't get presents... so Santa takes the fall.
Of course there's still a reason to celebrate Christmas without bringing religion into it, it's a fun day when you can take a break and enjoy yourself with friends and family. Ignoring the religious aspects just lets you spend more time on the good stuff.
In just about every Christmas movie or special on TV, adults in general refuse to believe in Santa Claus even when he has been established to be real. The issue is that their kids should be receiving presents that neither parent has any memory of buying. Do these parents automatically assume that they have some weird form of Christmas present amnesia even though they never have any similar problems right before birthdays? Besides, surely someone would have noticed Santa flying on his sleigh with his reindeer (he was perfectly visible to the adult narrator in the poem "The Night Before Christmas").
I like to assume that they're using a slightly more realistic version of Santa who can't deliver presents to everyone on one night because he neither has the time or resources, magic included. Thus, he probably only visits truly needy children and orphanages where his presents are regarded as cutesy anonymous gifts from mundane strangers rather than the miracles they are and only visits a couple of middle-class houses a year with kids that have been extremely well-behaved. With the parents both assuming that the other bought extra presents without telling each other. Actually, this could indeed be what happens in Real Life and we'd never know.
Bear in mind that Santa (and we all know what that's an anagram of, don't we boys and girls?) doesn't need to cover all of humanity in one night - large numbers of people don't celebrate Christmas and then there are those like the Spanish, who last I heard have gifts delivered on twelfth night by the magi, and the Russians who I think expect some old lady who meant to take gifts to the nativity but stayed home to do housework and missed it. Take the international dateline and the Eastern calendar and you're done.
Actually, for Russians the presents are brought by Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter the Snow Maiden.
It's the Italians who have the old lady by the way. Her name is Befana I believe.
Maybe Santa sneaks into the parents' bedroom and implants Fake Memories in their heads so they remember buying the stuff he brought. After all, Santa can do anything, right?
Great now I imagine that elves come from Santa planting a spore in the parents leading to subsequent chest bursting...hohoho
It was always my interpretation that Santa just doesn't visit the houses where parents do all the shopping themselves. In those cases, his job's already done. But there must be SOME families out there who still believe, and those are the ones he visits. Or, alternatively, he has some sort of "North Pole magic" version of the Xanatos Gambit/Roulette that allows parents to DO the shopping successfully in the first place.
Another factor might be that the sort of toys Santa's shop is capable of making— mostly wooden horses and the like— are largely out of fashion, and today's children would no longer appreciate them. So the parents, for the most part, do their own shopping, with Santa as an occasional miracle worker.
Which reminds me, has anyone ever tried to sue Santa for making copyrighted toys? Does Santa own the rights to his likeness?
The classic Miracle on 34th Street gives an answer. The Santa in that film is (probably) real, but most of his work in that film is impressing on adults that their kids want X and would they please get an X for the kid? And removing obstacles for getting the X.
My answer would be that when presents appear under the tree, both parents automatically assume it is the other parent who "really" bought it, and any denial by that other parent that he bought it will be seen as said parent playing to the Santa Clause "myth". Obviously, single-parent house holds are a problem with this theory. Further investigation is required.
Simpler explanation; The reason all those parents have to buy presents is because their kids have not been nice. The coal never arrives because there's no more at the north pole to be dug up. Genuinely nice kids get genuine elf-crafted gifts from the genuine Santa Claus, and both of those children are very grateful.
Bottom line: Santa Claus is a magical being, and magic doesn't have to answer the laws of physics and logic. That's why it's called "a WIZARD did it". When Harry Potter uses a spell to make something grow or shrink, where does all the extra mass come from/go to? When someone uses the One Ring and turns invisible, how can they still see? How can Wanda Maximoff's words affect genetics? How can Skeletor see if he has no eyes? Magic.
Isn't telling your children that a magical saint breaks into your house to deposit gifts the same as lying to their faces?
ARE YOU SUGGESTING SANTA IS IMAGINARY? You're in deep. VERY deep.
Yes. What bugs me more is what's the point in the lie? It serves no logical purpose, why would a parent want their child to believe that some magical fat guy they'll never know apparently loves them enough to give them toys for free, thereby taking zero credit? Wouldn't it make more sense to tell little Timmy "Yes, I bought that toy for Christmas because I love you." as oppose to "No Timmy, I didn't buy it. You see there's this fat guy with magical reindeer with elven slaves that made the toy for you, then gave it to you for free, breaking into the house in the middle of the night."? Especially since the latter not only gives no real human any credit, it also promotes mindless faith, which isn't very good.
Fear. Fear is the gasoline in the automobile of children not revolting and taking over the world, leading to a Logan's run style dystopia.
Counter-point: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Kids CAN make a successful society, but only if the entire world degenerates into a more medieval/aboriginal state.
Why use the fat guy to convince them to be good? Why not just say "Do what I say, or I won't give you any presents," or, "Do as I say, or I'll beat you."
Because that would make the parent into the negative, punishing entity.
The question shouldn't be why we tell kids about Santa, but why we no longer tell them about Black Pete. The devil that Santa shackled and forced to help him? The one who would put the bad kids in a sack and beat them?
My best guess is that some adults think that it is a good idea to preserve their children's innocence by convincing them that benevolent magical beings are real. This probably would explain the old statement that "every time a child says he doesn't believe in fairies, a fairy dies." Apparently, this was once more common back in the nineteenth century, when the American version of Santa Claus became part of the holiday tradition.
Indeed, it's a game. It's part of childhood innocence. Why would someone grab a plastic replica of Batman and have him fight a plastic replica of the Abomination? Why would someone watch a TV show about an alien watch that lets you change shape? What's the "logic" behind tag, hide-and-seek or nerf gun battles?
Except kids know all those things aren't real. However, many parents want their kids to believe in the lie of Santa to the point where telling their kid the truth is seen as a great offense. There's a difference between a couple games, and an outright lie that many act very hard to keep up.
Fun game. Lie to kids, and when they find out before you plan them to, they lose any trace of innocence they had before you started. Reeeeal fun. When I was younger, we used to have arguments in the schoolyard over whether Santa was real or not. I always defended him, because my parents would never lie to me, right? Then, in fourth grade, my friend's mom told us the truth, and now I have trust issues!
This is the answer suggested by the Christmas issue of Box Office Poison, when Stephen and Jane spend Christmas with her family. They address the issue of lying in the beginning:
Stephen: What? I just wouldn't want to lie to them! Is that so wrong?
Jane: Oh come on! Your parents told you Santa was real. Wasn't it fun?
Stephen: Yeah, but I just would feel weird about it. To lie -
Jane: Yeah, but it's a fun lie! And it's part of the culture.
Jane's father coerces Stephen into playing Santa for the little kids in the family, and despite his misgivings, he sees the effect it has on the kids:
Stephen: Dwight and Brooklyn look at me as if I'm God incarnate. As an adult you don't realize that kids believe in Santa, really believe, the same way we think cars are real or believe in buildings or cars. Magic is real to them!
In tandem with the above, apparently their pure belief after simply being told something exists is what keeps them innocent. Innocent and gullible, apparently.
In my family, Santa is taken more as a symbol of the selfless spirit of the season. We still give each other gifts from "Santa" as adults, even though we "know better," as such. Even when I realized that the mystical fat guy didn't really exist, I understood the purpose and never got upset or disillusioned. I think it's a good way of doing things, and besides, it's fun. Lighten up, you cynics!
Well, if you want to be technical, there was a real Saint Nicholas. But besides that, I always thought it was just folklore, and if folklore isn't taken seriously, I think it's relatively harmless.
There was a Nicholas, but he was never canonized. He's called "saint" as a folk tradition.
No, Nicholas is an official saint. His feast day is December 6th. He's also the patron saint of hookers.
Technically St. Peter and St. Paul were never canonized - they just became saints before process was formalized. AFAIK St. Nicholas plays very important role in Orthodox Church - for example he has The Key to Heaven. Even in Catholic tradition he is saint of poor, sailors, children and others.
For some, Santa becomes an object lesson. Sadly, one of the things children need to learn is that other people, even authority figures, don't always tell them the truth. Used well, the revelation of Santa Claus can be seen as an object lesson on topics like, say, believing what the government tells you.
Or believing what TV Tropes tell you?
The problem is that parent's don't really have a way to make it useful. They can say "We lied to you for years about Santa Claus, but it was for your own good, since as far as we knew you were having fun with it, right?" Which teaches the kids that it's okay if an authority figure lies to them, because it's an authority figure. But "We lied to you for years about Santa Clause, because it gave us a way to control your behavior, and the government will eventually try to do that too, so watch out" just undermines their own reliability, and makes the kid that much more of a mini-anarchist in relation to the parents.
Think of it as an exercise in developing logical reasoning; it's seeing how long it takes the kid to figure the truth out.
Because telling them that it's just you that buys the presents from the local mall would take all the magic and mystery out of Christmas. However, kids love to play make-believe, so it does seem a bit drastic to try and convince them that it's actually a fat man in a suit, when it would be kinder and just as efficient to get them to pretend Santa is real for the sake of making it more fun, which they will most likely willingly do.
I think Terry Pratchett has come up with the best answer. It's practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies (eg Santa) so that you can believe the bigger ones like justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
Cynical much? The only place justice, mercy and duty are lies is Africa.
Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?
Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?
That's it make Death a certified troper!
I would like to point out that the troper between the two Terry Pratchett references pretty much walked into that one.
I wonder if the made of win page accepts IJBM edits.
Hey, Death, I've got news for you. Ideas and concepts don't actually have physical form. Does the Hogfather also give us practice to believe in cruelty, greed, and evil? What, there aren't actual demonstrations of justice and mercy in the world? Besides, you live on the Discworld. I imagine there are hope mines somewhere as well as justice and mercy farms. Due to the rules of your own universe they're almost guaranteed to exist. People act as if there was some ideal order to the world because they want there to be. Pretty much, your argument sucks.
Yea, the Hogfather does give us practice to believe in cruelty, greed, and evil. The actions we call cruel, greedy and evil would exist anyway, but the Hogfather gives us practice to believe that they're wrong and that it would be right to stop it. To believe that being mean to somebody for fun isn't just unpleasant for the victim, it's something you shouldn't do. "What, there aren't actual demonstrations of justice and mercy in the world?" Nope. There are demonstrations of things happening. But we're the ones who decide that they're just and/or merciful.
Evidently very few of the tropers who have commented so far actually have any children. Telling blatant, fantastical, ridiculous lies to your kid is one of the greatest things about being a parent. I'll always remember the day my little girl asked me what hay bales were and I told her they were elephant cocoons.
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I like to think it's a way of growing up. By stating that Santa exists and finding out that he doesn't, kids are taught to be more mature and not believe in silly things anymore and accept the world for what it really is. Besides, I've never heard any thing that terrible arising from someone finding out Santa wasn't real. By this point, it's simply become tradition. Or it's a way to ensure that we'll act good in our youth.
I don't know about everyone else, but my parents taught us the concept, but then only used him as a threat to get us to bed on Christmas Eve. Everything else was done by the kids themselves.
My parents told me that Santa Claus was as real as Mickey Mouse. Since I believed that Mickey Mouse was also real, this was good enough for me. When I grew up, my mother told my that she said that because she wanted me to decide for myself whether or not I believed in Santa. A good approach to the problem, I think.
Wow. Lots of people seem to think that this is really devastating for kids, and traumatizing for their future. Let me ask: Any of you actually remember being traumatized?
Yes. Santa is a sore point in my history now after the drama that rolled around on that one Christmas Eve...
I remember all the stuff about Santa quite fondly. My parents obviously had a lot of fun with it and they were really creative in how they kept the illusion going. It was all quite fun and I certainly don't remember being "traumatized" to learn that Santa wasn't real. If my parents had instead gone on about how telling kids about Santa is "illogical" and that it "promotes blind faith" all I would have learned is that my parents had no creativity or sense of wonder (and that they were annoyingly preachy about it too).
Maybe it's partially to act disinterestedly. Kids won't thank you for presents they don't know you gave them. But I think previous explanations make sense too.
My parents told me Santa Claus wasn't real as soon as I was old enough to ask. Same with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Then we all just kind of pretended. They still hid dyed eggs for me to look for on Easter and gave me a quarter when I lost a tooth and left a few presents under the Christmas tree that said "from Santa" along with the ones that said "from Mom and Dad", but I knew that it was just pretend and I was okay with that. They also told me to play along for my friends because most of them still believed. I don't feel like I lost any of the magic, and I'm glad they didn't try to keep up the lie.
Where the hell is that train set I asked for? I've been good!
Not good enough. According to the spreadsheets, you're .0024 Mother Theresas per Year under the requirement to get a train set of that level, and that second-stage cursing put you even further back for next year. Mall Santas don't always send their updated request lists to HQ anyway, especially since The Incident, which just puts even more strain on the system. At least you weren't bad enough to get Black Pete... this year.
Did anybody have parents who told them about Santa and then, when Christmas rolled around, didn't get them anything from "Santa"? You know, the kids wake up, go downstairs and there's nothing there. Mom & Dad arrive and say, "What? Santa didn't bring you anything? What did you do?"
That's why I always behaved uncharacteristically well in December...
That's why you shouldn't get anything from him. The fat man knows it's a lie.
Granted, this isn't directly about Santa, but it's still a holiday legend. How does the Easter Bunny get all those eggs?
Eggs 'R' Us.
Santa has Elven Slaves, the Bunny has Chicken Slaves.
Genetically engineered, chocolate chicken slaves. Which actually raises some interesting questions; if a chocolate rooster gets in with the chocolate hens, could you crack open an Easter egg to find a tiny chocolate embryo...?
The Easter Rabbit is actually the first creature who saw Jesus after he rose from the grave (that's why he's the EASTER Rabbit). Ergo, he gets the eggs from God/Jesus.
Quite a fun thing to point out to small children is the fact that all rabbits do indeed produce small, round, brown objects...
Also, the Easter Bunny resides on Easter Island. It's the thing that carved the moais. Also, before, I made a type saying that he resided on himself. (Is the eb a girl or boy?)
A fertility goddess turned a chicken into an egg-laying rabbit.
Man, he BREAKS INTO YOUR HOUSE and leaves things there! Futurama has the right idea, why the hell should we welcome someone who BREAKS INTO YOUR HOUSE. Maybe I was just a paranoid kid (and Santa depictions always reminded me of my German grandfather who scared the hell out of me) but isn't that just a bit frightening? Why do we continue to tell this story to kids?
Because he brings you free shit. (If you're bad, that is.)
Your example is very questionable. Remember that in Futurama, their Santa was a robot that killed people.
Because Santa's nice. He does go into your house, but only to leave presents.
In The Santa Clause, what the Hell happened to the old Santa's Mrs. Claus? The second film clearly established that every Santa needs one, but she's never mentioned. Speaking of which, why is no one really mad at Scott for killing Santa?
I was under the impression he didn't die, but simply teleported away as falling off the roof ends his contract. Before you say falling off a roof is probably fatal, keep in mind he's magical. Also, look at the nonchalant way he waves as he disappears.
In the contract, it says that Santa remains Santa until unable to perform the duties, so this is plausible. If he simply, like, broke his leg, then he'd be unable to continue, but wouldn't die, either.
Why can't you G-rated morons let Disney be Darker and Edgier? A Disney movie where Santa dies is AWESOME.
As for Mrs. Claus, I would think she went back with the old Santa and went back to a normal life, or to preserve the secret of Santa, they both got memory wipes. Either that, or he simply didn't have one yet. Scott got along fine for several years without a wife, maybe that old Santa hadn't hit the time limit where he has to rush and get a wife yet.
Then that just raises the question of what happened to that Santa's predecessor's Mrs. Claus.
In the third movie, it is shown that a Santa released from his contract is sent back to his life just before putting on the suit, usually with a memory wipe.
The previous Misses Claus is obviously Judy, the little elf who brings Scott the hot cocoa... or perhaps the previous Santa hadn't been Santa long enough to reach the Misses Clause?
I, Prime Evil, had another brainwave last night. My idea was, every few centuries, Santa Claus has to be rebooted so that one individual can't stay in place too long lest he get jaded. With that in mind, each Santa before the last has to "die" in some way (e.g. falling off a slippery roof) so that someone else can take the reins. Whoever said above that the previous Santa gets sent back to his normal life...I'll have to graft that onto my idea and take some of the edge off of it. It's not that the person dies, but he just loses all of his Santa-ness.
What does the post office do with all that mail to Santa?
If Miracle On 34th Street is to be believed, they keep it in a big room somewhere. Most likely, however, they recycle the paper it was printed on.
I'm pretty sure that was just the dead letters department. Post offices have one to keep letters that can't be delivered. In between all those letters to Santa were probably a hundred or more letters that just happened to have bad addresses or insufficient postage and no return address.
There is a program where ordinary citizens can fulfill letters to Santa as a charitable holiday act.
They're sent to his address at 5400 Mail Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-9998.
What are you talking about? Santa lives in Finland, not America.
I think it depends on the country and the postal area you live in Canada they have a special postal code for him and occasionally you'll get a reply (I'm creeped out now, some one answered my letter with a bald faced lie and got paid for it)
H0H 0H0, right? But wouldn't that be somewhere in eastern Quebec, though, not the Arctic territories?
Did you actually get a personalized letter? I grew up with five siblings and we always just got form letters with our names put at the beginning, and possibly some mention of whatever we'd asked for.
Though I'm all for the idea of having your children believe in Santa Claus, isn't the simple IDEA of what he does/is kind of creepy? An old fat man watches you every minute of everyday of every year. Then breaks into your house and gives you presents. Exactly what does he DO while he's watching you?
He makes a list, checks it twice, making sure who's naughty and who's nice.
Meh, parents already tell their children they'll be tortured eternally if they're bad. Santa's an improvement.
Why do people who tell their kids about Santa think that everyone else has to go along with it? It's one thing if parents want to lie to their kids, but they shouldn't expect other people to do the same. My neighbor's kid once walked up to me and asked if he was real; I said "No." His parents got mad at me for saying that instead of assuring him that he's real. I'm not going to ignore my principles just because somebody wants me to.
Um, because disrespecting the beliefs and wishes of others is rude maybe? Imagine if one of your neighbors told your kid that your religious beliefs were wrong and you were going to burn in Hell for it. Would you be okay with that? I doubt it. Not to mention that kids tend to get emotionally invested in the Santa myth. Sending your neighbor's child home in tears for no good reason is downright dickish.
Parents who tell their kids Santa exists don't believe he exists. Conversely, parents who tell their kids God exists and those that tell their kids god doesn't exist believe he exists, or doesn't exist respectively.
And that makes it less rude...how exactly?
I wouldn't say it's less rude, just that anyone who knowingly lies to their children shouldn't expect other people to just go along with it, and thus comparing telling children Santa doesn't exist with telling them their parents' religion (or lack thereof) is wrong, doesn't make sense.
Why? Why does it not make sense? Set aside for a moment the question of whether those beliefs are true or not and ask yourself whether it's respectful to go around telling children that something they deeply believe in is a lie. It doesn't matter whether the parents believe it, the point is that the CHILD believes it, and going around telling children that their deepest and most emotionally important beliefs are false is, as I said, downright dickish. And really, what exactly are you accomplishing by stubbornly refusing to go along with the Santa myth? Do you get some kind of sick satisfaction out of making small children cry? Is it really so much of an imposition for you to play along when a child asks you if Santa exists?
I'm not sadistic; lying is against my religion. Me refusing to lie is no more dickish than a Muslim refusing to eat pork or a Jehovah's Witness refusing a blood transfusion.
You can't just ignore the fact that what the child believes is a lie. No, it's not like a religious belief based on faith at all, as those may or may not be true. This some bizarre tradition where parents pointlessly lie to their children for no apparent reason at all. I'd say it was dickish of the parents to put the belief into their head in the first place. "Kids get emotionally invested in the belief". All the more reason why lying to them in the first place is bad.
Wait, wait, wait... if kids finding out something they they truly, deep down, believe is such a bad thing... how about <i>not telling them that these things are true in the first place?!</i> You can't stop kids from finding out that Santa is real. It will happen. The only way to change it is to not let them believe at all! Seriously, with the stigma attached to people who tell children kids are real you'd think people actually expect them to <i>never</i> figure it out...
Making children excited and happy (the usual intended result of encouraging a belief in Santa delivering presents) is generally considered preferable to making children frightened and traumatised (the usual intended result of convincing them there's an evil monster under the bed planning on eating them). So yes. The two aren't really that equivalent outside of convincing the child that something that isn't real exists, so it's not quite as hugely hypocritical a Double Standard as you seem to think.
Why didn't you simply answer, 'I don't believe in Santa Claus'? That's not a lie. Kids are used to knowing others who don't believe in him. So, you wouldn't have lied, and he wouldn't have been near as upset.
Because the kid didn't ask them if they beleived in Santa - he asked if he was real. That's avoiding an answer which is basically the same as lying.
I never thought of that; I wish I did.
Nah, I prefer to punish parents who rely on presents and Santa stories to control their children.
Whether you believe that Santa Claus is a fun little game for kids or a cruel lie or whatever, it has to be said; that kid's parents were probably were a bit less mad at you for ruining their child's belief in Santa Claus and a bit more mad at you because whether you meant to or not, you made their child cry. For whatever reason, parents don't tend to like other people making their children upset (especially when it's for something that could probably have been avoided with little harm-to-no harm done to anyone whatsoever; it's not like you had to tell them that Santa didn't exist that instant), and whether you think they should have told them the truth from the start or not, fact is it was their decision to make, not yours. And ultimately you were the one directly responsible for upsetting their child. Not entirely surprising they'd be a bit pissed off with you, frankly.
This is what complicates the situation to me: imagine the roles are reversed. I decide, as is my prerogative to do, to tell my children that Santa is not real and that gifts are annually delivered by Superman- no more or less magical or ridiculous than Santa, and doesn't make elves his slaves either. My child asks some other adult whether Santa is real; not wanting to aggrieve the poor kid, that adult says "Yes." Now my kid thinks I'm a liar; he then asks another adult if Superman is real. Assuming the child is familiar with the concept of "fiction" he says no, and my kid is even madder. The point is: you don't really know the parents' intent, and trying to choose between being 'moral' or 'polite' could backfire horribly. That's why when a child asks me a question like this I just shrug and say, "Ask your parents, they probably know the answer to that." That way I'm technically not lying and I've left it in the parents' hands.
In holding to your principles, you made a child cry. Lie or not, it doesn't really seem like the parents are the dickish ones in that particular scenario.
This has always got to me. Kids stop believing in Santa usually when their parents tell them he's not real. In Santa movies, the adults don't believe, but if Santa was real (as it always turns out he is), who told them otherwise?
The same person who told atheists God doesn't exist. (Or if you prefer, the same person who told people of faith that God does exist.)
Miracle On34th Steet actually sort of explains it. The DA (whose trying to prove that Kris should be committed) doesn't believe because he didn't get a certain present (I think a baseball glove, but I'm not sure) as a child. It's suggested that Santa can't always get everyone what they want.
It's always because of that. They should have a name for that trope. It's at least borderline cliche.
Where do the elves get the raw resources to make the presents considering that they live on in ice sheet over the Arctic Ocean and are about 707 km from the nearest actual land? This one has bugged me since I was nine.
A Wizard Did It. Santa has flying reindeer, and can visit every single Christmas-celebrating dwelling on Earth in about 24 hours, and carries all those toys in a single bag. The work the elves do is probably simply magicking the presents into existence.
I have been nagging on this for a long time. Imagine there is a MASSIVE group of children with their parents all enjoying the lie of the Santa, when suddenly someone comes in, megaphone in hand, yelling: "SANTA CLAUS IS A LIE, YOUR PARENTS BUY YOUR PRESENTS" over and over. Children would start crying and pestering their parents, inquiring if this was true, and parents would most surely lynch the bastard in front of their children, to make them stop crying. If this happened and that person died, would the news report for the next day specify the true cause of death, saying that Santa does not exist? If they did, thousands of children watching TV would suddenly learn the truth. If they didn't, news coverage of the murder would suck ass and would expose the flaws in the media. Mental jack-off, yeah.
If I had to decide, I'd say "Cause of death: Being a dick."
Be fair, how many small children do you know that regularly watch the news?
Hi. I'm in my thirties now, granted, but I started watching both the local and national news broadcasts (that aired at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM Central time, respectively) when I was five years old. I'd already been reading the local newspaper (including the front section with the world and national news reports) for about a year beforehand. I learned a lot about conflicts, strife, terrorism, bombings, murder, drug cartels, violence, assaults, other crimes, and some of the good things in life. I also wholly embraced the idea of Santa Claus until I was 10 and found out for myself, and it never even remotely crossed my mind as a devastating event because I had the proper sense of proportion in life and I knew there were a whole lot worse things in life to be upset about (even in my personal life, because my one grandfather had died the year before). I also still believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, which is about giving and generosity and bringing happiness into the lives of others, and am completely against being a dick to children simply because I myself know the truth about the "fat, jolly old elf" who lives in the North Pole.
Exactly what kind of neighborhood have you been living in??
"The man claimed that Santa Claus did not exist, which angered the outraged parents..." The cable news networks aren't going to start looking into facts just because it's Christmas, when they can just as profitably invite "experts" from both sides of the Santa debate to discuss the matter.
Okay, Santa in Rudolph... what was up with him? "Donner, you should be ashamed of yourself!" Just WHAT?
To be more specific, this is the guy who wanted to cancel Christmas due to a snowstorm. Not just skip his party, but CANCEL the WHOLE RUTTIN' DAY! He shrugged off the elves laboriously rehearsed song, mocked Rudolph, implied Donner should have killed the poor kid upon birth, and I'm sure he banished the misfit toys himself!
So how does Santa keep the toys organized? Is the sack programmed with GPS and a list of where nice kids live, what they want, and what they deserve, or does he just have a giant mental card catalog for which the list is just backup, and asks the sack for the appropriate toys like an enchanted Bag of Infinite Holding? And is the coal in the bag (how does it keep off the other gifts?), or his pocket, or the fireplaces (in which case, it should usually be charcoal. Or natural gas residue)?
Hammerspace bag; Naughty/Nice Database in the dashboard of the sleigh with wireless uplink to the main server at the North Pole with up-to-the-minute updates; and the coal is actually the compressed mass of the gift the child would have gotten, had they been nicer.
What a waste of elf resources. No wonder so many people get neither elfcraft gifts nor coal.
A lot of people seem to think that if kids who believe in Santa suddenly discover that he's not real, they're going to be depressed, at best, or forever distrust their parents and grow up to be Ax-Crazy murderers, at worst. (Or maybe that's just Jack Chick.) That doesn't happen in Real Life. My friends and I, for example, all believed in Santa, all found out he wasn't real, and all grew up to be emotionally healthy adults with college degrees.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The raging Santa-hatred on this page is unbelievable. Some of my fondest memories were of waking up on Christmas morning to find that Santa had stuffed Pokemon cards in the branches of my Christmas tree, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. The only thing I’m upset about is finding out that it had been my father eating Santa’s cookies all those years. Dammit old man, those were not for you!
I agree, it seems people being "traumatized" by finding out Santa isn't real is in the minority. My question is what are all these tropers how are against these absolutely awful lie to the children suggest as an alternative? They are still going to be exposed to Santa Claus, so should the parents right off the bat tell them it's all a lie and have them be the unpopular ostracized child telling all the other kids Santa is fake? Or tell them even though Santa isn't really to keep it from the other kids, which makes the child have to lie?
It's because you're all damned rich people.
Or maybe just people with senses of proportion? Yes, Santa's a lie, but on the other hand, it's a fairly small and largely harmless one in the scheme of things. Certainly, it's not nearly as harmful as some of the people on this page seem to be insisting.
I remember, even after knowing for a while that Santa wasn't real, being disappointed when my parents finally dropped the act. It was just a game that made Christmas seem even more fun and special. On another note, how many kids actually have to have someone explain to them that Santa isn't real? From my experience, I picked it up gradually over a few Christmases... not getting a Betty Spaghetti... my dad telling me to set out beer and pretzels instead of milk and cookies... and most people seem to have learned it this way.
I was actually relieved when I figured out Santa Claus wasn't real (because my mom used the same wrapping paper as him). I thought of Santa Claus as a scary omniscient man who was constantly watching to see if you did anything naughty, and was always worried that I would get on the "naughty list." Then I wouldn't get any presents, and my parents would be disappointed in me because they would no I was naughty. But if it's my parents getting me the presents, then there' s nothing to worry about because they would never get me coal.
OK, so he's called Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, and probably a few others...why does he need so many aliases? What is he, a con artist?
The kids who got coal definitely think so.
Considering that one of the aliases is, based on his mythological origins, Allfather Wotan, I think the answer is categorically "yes", considering what kind of person that alias is.
What will Santa do when the magnetic poles reverse? Move to Antarctica?
I doubt Santa's magic relies on magnetic polarity.
Which north pole does Santa live at? True North, Celestial North, Grid North or Magnetic North?
Considering that the ice up there shifts around with ocean currents, freeze/melt cycles, and wind, I think the best answer to this is "yes".
I know how crazy this is going to sound, but hear me out. Why do we have to stop believing in Santa Claus just because we get older? I don't mean the actual Santa Claus, the fat guy in the red suit with the sleigh and reindeer and yackity smackity. I mean what that image represents. This article sums up what I'm talking about pretty nicely, but the short version is, why do people have to be so damn cynical? Letting your kids believe in (literal) Santa Claus benefits not only them, but yourself, because it reminds you that there are things in the world larger than yourself and that giving something doesn't have to come with a reward other than the act itself. I totally believe in that spirit because I have it, and I can't figure out why so many people are so damn desperate to lose that as they get older. Yeah, there are logical conundrums that come with trying to explain how Santa Claus does what he does, but you know what? Fuck that. Santa exists in spirit if not in person, and if you're so hellbent on tearing it apart just to prove you can, you've got problems. It doesn't make you edgy or even particularly smart, it just makes you a misanthropic douchebag. (Before anyone says it, there's a difference between Santa Claus and God, the primary one being that nobody ever mounted a crusade in Santa's name.)
THIS. I can't be the only kid whose presents said who they were from on the tags but who absolutely believed Santa (as the Christmas Spirit) was behind the whole thing, and I still do at my advanced age.
Or you can learn to be normal and give people presents yourself.
St. Nicholas was/is (depending on whether you believe in the afterlife) a very giving person. While living, he gave all he had to those who needed it. Even now, those who have asked for his intercession now have received it. It is quite alright to believe in Santa Claus, a spirit of giving, in the season of giving.
I don't agree with the OP. My dad never told me that Santa exists and I always found the very idea of him stupid and ridiculous. Christmas at my house generally looks like this: I give dad my presents and tell him that I love him and so does he. That's all. And I don't think that it would have benefited him or me if he told me Santa was real. He once told me: "Be skeptical about anything and don't believe stupid stories and fairytales without a reason." Or something along those lines. Oh and spreading "Santa's spirit" doesn't make you a saint or a better person. Just saying...
Maybe because... he doesn't exist? And that not believing in things that aren't true is, in itself, bad? Surely there must be some benefit to actually seeing the world as it truly exists? And it's misanthropic to not believe in Santa? How about not having to? I am an atheist who is somewhat iffy about telling kids about Santa (despite not having any bad experiences with it), but one of my biggest problems with the idea is how utterly goddamn cynical it is. Kids need to believe in something magical! But...why? The world is already such an incredible, fantastic place - there's no need to make stuff up to make it seem prettier! The idea that innocence = happiness = not knowing about the world just betrays a ridiculous pessimism. Honestly? Yeah, sometimes the world is shit, but overall, the more I learn about the world - as it truly is, and not just how some people like to believe it is - the more beautiful and incredible and fascinating and ultimately good it seems. Santa is a good story. But there's no reason for it not to stay a story. Believing in something doesn't make it true. If people really wanted to make the world a better place, they'd actually try to help people who need it, not just tell them that the world is shit and the way to solve it is to believe in a fairytale.
"Not believing in things that aren't true is, in itself, bad"? That depends on the thing being believed in, surely. I mean, like Stephen Colbert said once, there are much worse things to believe in than the idea of a friendly fat man who once a year brings toys as a reward for good behaviour. I mean, okay, there's no need to make up magical stuff to make the world seem better and there's plenty of amazing real things out there, but that kind of ignores the simple point that it can be fun to do so, particularly when you're a kid; okay, there's a lot of things that are amazing about the world, but what's amazing and magical to an adult might go right over a kid's head simply due to the fact that they're at a different intellectual and emotional development stage.
Here's one I went to school on, pointed out by a disabled friend on very limited income. Bad kids get potatoes and coal and sticks? HE'S BRINGING THEM FOOD AND FUEL. This is not about bad kids. It's about poor kids.
I once thought up a hypothetical situation wherein a poor kid growing up in the late 1800s acts like an arrogrant brat all year, then around Christmas his dad loses his job, and they're at high risk of starving and freezing to death. Then Santa comes and cheerfully brings him all the toys he asked for.
Same reason we don't put religion in the real life section. Technically speaking, we should be classing him under Religion/Mythology.
If it makes you happier, it's now in the Other section.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the spirit of the season and keeping kids innocent, but 85 percent of the time, adults are using the "Santa is Real" shtick as a way to keep their children in line. How many times do you hear adults saying something along the lines of "Stop that or Santa won't bring you any presents!" compared to something along the lines of "I bet you're all excited about Santa coming, aren't you?". If you said the former is heard more often, then it's not about keeping children innocent or getting into the spirit of the season. It's just using the Santa myth as a manipulation tool and nothing more. I do commend my brother-in-law for telling me point blank: "Damn right it's a manipulation tool, and a damn effective one!" Why can't we all be this honest about it?
Because people would rather hear what they want rather than what's true.
For the same reason people don't tend to be honest about their motives for almost anything.
And because while it's one thing for an adult to say that to another adult when there's no kids around, it's kind of hard to maintain such honesty when the kid's actually present (and they often are around if you're, you know, a parent) since letting them know or find out that it's all make-believe kind of defeats the point of using it as a tool to manipulate them.
It bugs me that everyone seems to think kids only find out there's no Santa Claus because their parents tell them. My parents never told me there's no Santa; they rightly assumed I'd figure it out for myself. I think it makes more sense to do it that way because then the illusion isn't shattered before the kid's ready for it to be.
Let me raise the bet: Has there been anyone in the history of life that actually found out about this through their parents?
Any Christian. I was raised Jewish, and as far as I can recall the first thing my parents told me once I heard about this stuff in preschool was "its not real, but don't tell them that its part of the game".
Yep, My mom told me( a Christian) when I was...8? mostly because she and dad had to work through the holidays and needed me to help wrap presents 'from Santa' for my brother( she got my brother to wrap mine. I probably wood have guessed it sooner, but I was never one to question the pretty doll under the tree. ( for the record, I never believed in the Easter bunny, so I wasn't that gullible of a child.)
I was told by a friend, but then my mother, not knowing I was told, told me a year or so later.
I don't get the whole idea of Santa in general, but there is one specific thing I really don't get. Why tell the kids that some other guy gives them stuff when if you just tell them that you did it they'll still be as happy and you'll get credit? I mean the only thing that comes from the Santa legend is parents not getting credit for doing something nice for their kids, and kids asking for more expensive stuff because "Santa will bring it". Wouldn't it be nicer if you just told your kids that you bought the gifts and got a nice hug and thank you in return?
Yes, but then it would (God forbid) make sense.
It is possible to have it both ways. I would often get the #1 thing on my list from my parents, while Santa would send me the #2 thing. Thus, Santa was awesome, but not as awesome as my parents.
Because parents are boring and mundane. Santa is a magical, larger than life figure so the same present is going to seem more special if it comes from him. Think of it this way, would you be more excited to get a gift card from a coworker or from Batman? It's the same gift, but the fact that it came from Batman would make it all the more valued.
You know what is stupid about movies portraying Santa Claus such as The Polar Express and Santa Clause. The parents may not believe in Santa while the kid does. Well the parents must be complete idiots if they don't notice that there are extra gifts under the tree from "Santa" that neither parent nor grandparent bought. Explain that:
Maybe they think the other parent (mom thinks the dad did, dad thinks the mom did) put them there?
Why does the entire world insist on lying to kids about a stupid belief? My parents (at least my mom) wanted me to trust them on everything they said, by simply never lying. Mom never told me Santa was real, she just let the media do that. Of course, I picked up the truth same as any other kid, and I was okay with the game. I just think that we've gone too far with the Santa movies, especially the ones with the moral that "If you don't believe, you'll turn into a cranky, oblivious grownup." On another note, my grandparents (from Mom's side) told their kids Santa was real, and when they found out they were told that "If you don't (pretend to) believe in Santa anymore, he won't come anymore." In other words, they wouldn't get Christmas presents unless they acted like a magical man brought them gifts instead of their parents, even into teen years! I liked the extra presents, but why have parents, and the media, gone this far to force kids into this crap?
Why do people insist there's a true meaning of Christmas? Or that there's a right way to go about celebrating it?
The true meaning of Christmas is whatever you believe it to be, and the only right way to do it is to do it the way you want to.
Good news, everyone! The true meaning of Christmas is that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross. There isn't a "right" way to celebrate it, though, even though there are several common Western traditions associated with doing so.
Why is it that pretty much every Christmas movie ever insists that belief in Father Christmas is absolutely necessary, and constantly repeat that if you believe something it becomes real... even though Santa is one of the few beliefs people are expected to give up as they get older? What, believing in things that aren't true is necessary to a child's happiness, but then it suddenly becomes the exact opposite when they get older? Why do we push this idea into children so much, and then when they get old enough suddenly turn around and go 'Haha, okay, you can stop believing now! No seriously: stop it'? And that's not even getting into people who insist on belief without evidence of other things, but who still think weirdly of people who take too long to stop believing in Santa. These are some ridiculously mixed messages, here.
How many people get bluntly told that there's no such thing as Santa at a certain age, though? In my personal experience, and those of whom I've asked, it's less that there's a sudden cut-off point where you have to Learn The Terrible Truth and more that as kids get older and their faculties of reasoning and logic develop, they figure it out for themselves. The holes in the story become more apparent.
Why is it that Santa always despairs when Christmas is "ruined"? Not only does that happen all the time, but it suggests Santa himself thinks Christmas is just about getting! Wouldn't it be kinda cute if the villain of the week managed to stop presents, but Santa was able to spread Christmas cheer some other way? 'Cause he's Santa and he's just cool like that?
Here's what has me scratching my head: I just don't "get" belief in Santa Claus. No, no, wait, hear me out. I'm not another "my parents taught me doubt and reason and skepticism" case, far from it. But to me, Father Christmas was always make-believe; a "let's pretend" game that everyone played, but no-one that I knew took seriously. It wasn't a "spirit of giving" thing either; oh, that was certainly there, but for several Christmases I was too young to notice, not reading that deeply into it. It was just make-believe, like playing heroes or spreading stories of drop bears. Maybe that's it — is this some cultural thing? All the Christmas movies are American; perhaps raising kids with a genuine belief in Santa is a very US thing to do (not to mention "Santa Claus" displacing "Father Christmas" as the term of choice in Australia). And I wouldn't want to knock anyone else's culture, but from my parochial point of view, treating the whole thing as a shared game of make-believe seems almost ideal and I struggle to "get" doing it any other way.
But that's exactly it! If you always know that Santa is this big make-believe game, it's not devastating. Which is why I don't "get" encouraging kids to actually believe in a real Santa.
To answer your original question, it seems to me that it's basically just tradition at this point. I doubt most parents think about it beyond the fact that they were raised believing, and so were their parents, and so on and so forth... And there is cultural pressure towards that end, as well since if you tell your child that Santa is only make believe then he/she will probably tell other kids that, and their parents will be mad, etc...
From "A Visit from St. Nicholas": "A miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer." Is that perspective (the narrator is seeing him from a distance), or was St. Nicholas really supposed to be smaller than a human at the time the poem was written ("a right jolly old elf")?
So, we realize by now that 92% of this page is the same three questions over and over again, right? And to answer one of those: I think of Santa as like the little kid version of God. He may or may not exist, and there are a lot of adults who think he doesn't, but faith in him is enough to get kids through the year. So they should just find out on their own whether he exists or not. But yeah, the lying makes parents hypocritical bastards, but it's like a murderer getting a death sentence: whether it's hypocritical and whether it's the right thing to do are two entirely different matters.
I get how he lands, but how does he fit that huge-ass sleigh and a team of 9 reindeer on one roof?
It's a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
That line was a matter of perspective.
So you say, but the poem is replete with references to Santa Claus being 'little,' such as 'little old driver,' 'droll little mouth,' 'little round belly,' not to mention 'a right jolly old elf...' That line isn't a reference to some kind of tall Tolkien elves, it's a reference to the smaller elves of folklore. There is nothing in the poem to indicate that line doesn't, in fact, mean that Santa, and by extension, his sled and reindeer, aren't tiny. The fact that the sled and the reindeer fit onto pretty much any roof just clinches it.
Why don't we have an index on this site for characters like Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Father Time, Mother Nature, the Grim Reaper, and all the others?
If a kid wants coal for some reason - isn't poor and needs it for heat, just a strange kid who wants coal - but is really naughty, what does Santa do?
That kid gets a non-coal rock.
Why do people see Santa Claus and Father Christmas as the same person? One's a dead Bishop(Santa Claus) while the other is The Embodiment of Christmas itself(Father Christmas).