The big man and the big lie

He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake.

He kind of sounds like a creep, and yet Santa Claus is one of the biggest Christmas stories told to children every year. The idea of a magical old man who makes toys and spies on kids is somehow not disturbing and celebrated by children all across the globe. Why is telling your kids a deliberate lie so accepted? Is it because it’s a “Christmas tradition” or is it okay because “everyone does it”?

Growing up, my parents never tried to fool my brother and I into thinking Santa was real. We would watch my mom come out of her room, toting boxes covered in wrapping paper and place them under the tree. The tooth fairy, Easter bunny and other mystical beings didn’t exist in our minds, even though there were kids at school who were convinced they were real. While my mom never encouraged us to believe it, she also told us not to spoil it for others. Even in her mind, where she knew Santa was a lie, she accepted the idea of other parents lying to their children.

The whole point of tricking kids into believing in Santa Claus is to gain leverage. It gives you an advantage when they are acting out of turn. A simple, “Looks like you’re going on the naughty list this year” can quiet a tantrum in seconds. But is this really the right way to go about this? Are there not better options for teaching your children how to behave than subtle threats and lies?

Santa has become a symbol of Christmas. That is impossible to deny, but should he remain as such? More and more parents are leaving Santa out of Christmas, simply letting their kids know where the presents actually come from. Some argue this ruins the “magic of Christmas” and denies children the innocence of childhood, but they forget that innocence doesn’t have to be wrapped in deception.

I think it’s time we moved forward, past the Santa myth. We have the birth of Christ to celebrate, so why bring Santa into it? Judging others by what they choose to do and believe won’t help, but turning from lying and moving towards teaching good behavior is a good start. It’s time we barricaded our fireplaces and leave Santa out in the cold.

Graci Escobar is a junior English major with an emphasis on speaking and writing. She loves cats, napping, reading, cuddling cats, browsing independently unpublished stories, binge-watching Netflix, and petting cats. Born and raised here in Lincoln, Graci would love to see the ocean more than seven times and hopes to one day hug every cat in the world.