Deceit lurks during winter holiday season


Photo labeled for noncommercial reuse by Jonathan Meath.

Santa, an imaginary man with a red outfit lined with white fur and a bag of presents, is widely known in Christmas traditions.

With Thanksgiving officially over and the leftovers slowly rotting in the fridge, it is time to talk about Santa. More specifically, that fact that he does not exist. Shocking as it may seem to the four-year-olds reading this article, Santa can not travel across the entire world in one night, stuffing presents under trees and his face full of cookies. Still, I think the lie is pretty fun.

For the most part, kids like Santa because to them magic is the greatest thing since Team Umizoomi hit Amazon instant video and because Santa is definitely magical. That said, some psychologists say that those lies can wither the trust in the parent-child relationship.

“If a child learns they were consistently lied to for years, they may wonder what else they have been lies they’ve been told,” psychologist and professor at the University of Exeter Christopher Boyle said.

I do not necessarily agree, though, because I believed in Santa for a hot second. However, when I realized he was fake, I did not immediately stop trusting my parents. Plus, no longer believing is kind of a rite of passage – you have exited childhood when you stop believing in Santa.

Cyndy Scheibe, a psychology professor from Ithaca College, argues that it is part of child development you can observe and should really be protected. When children discover on their own, that the world is not what they thought it was, it does not usually lead to distrust.

“Santa does not hold up to sophisticated scrutiny,” Schiebe said. “By 12, most children have decided reindeer can not fly, one man can not get to every chimney in one night, and that some houses don’t even have chimneys.”

The idea of Santa is a fun one that I think we should keep up with. Of course, many probably have moral qualms about lying to kids, but, in this case, why would you not want kids to experience a little magic.