Dec 21

SantaTrumanShow.jpg**Warning spoiler**

Weird Friday thought: do you think kids get freaked out when they realize an entire society has conspired to fool them into believing in Santa Claus? From their perspective it’s gotta feel a bit like the moment of revelation/disillusionment Jim Carey’s character goes through in the movie Truman Show when they learn it’s not just an isolated bit of trickery but that the entire world is in on the charade.

Am I thinking too deeply on this one? Admittedly I’ll probably perpetuate the Santa myth if I ever have kids because the magic of seeing them believe has to be priceless. But at the same time, are we doing it for us or them at that point? Maybe both… How do parents deal with that moment of having to admit to their children “sorry, it was all a big hoax and the rest of the world was in on it too?” Ouch.

7 Responses to “Is Santa the world’s largest “Truman Show” hoax?”

  1. Scott Barnes says:

    He’s not real.. wtf!.. now that hurts..

    Actually what even adds more to the sting is that Santa’s colors came from Coke!

    For shame…

    I wonder if we (Microsoft) can buy Santa.. hmm need to draft an email to acquisitions team..

    -
    Scott Barnes
    RIA Evangelist
    Microsoft.

  2. Bill Brown says:

    I’m a parent of three daughters (all 4 and under) who believe wholeheartedly in Santa Claus. As an atheist, I was a little uncomfortable with the whole charade but I decided that it’s quite harmless.

    You are overthinking this. Kids at the age when they typically discover the truth (I’d say between 5 and 10) aren’t going to make the global integrations to realize the scale of the perpetuation. The implications didn’t occur to me until I was in my twenties (mostly because I didn’t really think about the Santa issue until I started thinking about having kids).

    As for why we did it, I don’t think it was especially for us or for them. It’s definitely easier to perpetuate the myth: it sort of feels like being a killjoy and drafting your children into that role to tell them the truth about what they see on TV and hear from their friends and relatives.

    But you can definitely see how it benefits them to believe in Santa: they already believe that the world is a magical place because it’s all so amazing to them. Santa is just another aspect to the world. Oh, guy flies around and gives away presents? Got it. I can see a realtime view of Shamu on your computer? Sure thing.

  3. Bill Brown says:

    Also, the Times just published this blog entry on the subject.

  4. Heidi says:

    It really all depends on the parents. I found out about Santa when I was 5, and I was devastated. She’s lied to me (and others) a lot over the years, and it’s only just now, as I go to reply to your question, that I realize why it must have upset me so much then.

    I must have realized in previous years that my mother lied, and knowing me, I probably tried to catch her in it. Now, she has Borderline Personality Disorder, which means that she believes any lie she makes up (even if multiple people try showing her the reality, she’ll just say we all remembered wrong). So, she’s really good at lying.

    I’m a very trusting and gullible person. I imagine I probably suspected that she lied over a lot of things, and Santa was the first lie I ever had 100% proof over.

    And to be honest, I don’t believe that Santa itself is a lie. I believe the lie is in telling your child that he’s a real life, animate being that *does* exist. I would’ve been able to cope a lot better if my mother didn’t have a mental illness in the first place, or was at least smart enough not to reproduce had told me that Santa was the spirit of giving (a very Virginia-esque answer).

    I have a huge problem letting children believe that Santa is a real life person. It really grates against my moral code (which is *way* too honest for my own good; I often forget to give out the white lie to keep my relationships with others from being strained), but I grit my teeth (and bitch to my dad/friends) simply because I don’t want to be the jackass that destroys a kid’s misguided belief in Santa being a real person.

    When I have kids, I fully intend to tell them that Santa is the spirit of gift giving. And I also intend to put presents under the tree before Xmas Eve (though I plan on only filling the stockings on Xmas Eve, to replace the missed magic).

    When I’ve gotten presents from extended family (we moved 1,000 away from them when I was 5), they’ve been put under the tree before Xmas Eve. That was always a treat, because I got to take the boxes and shake them to try to determine what’s inside.

    What magic was ruined by the truth of Santa was replaced by getting to guess what was inside presents. And replaced by my parents filling my stocking Xmas Eve, after I’d gone to bed.

    Also: we open presents Xmas Eve here, simply because my parents decided they liked their sleep (which hey, I totally don’t blame them there!), and didn’t want to be woken up at 3am to witness me opening presents (yes, I still am that obnoxious person!). I plan on doing this with my own kids, for the same reason (although, again, they’ll have to wait to rot their teeth with candy from the stockings until Xmas morning, whenever they get up then).

  5. Angela says:

    My step sister told me out of spite. My gramma read me “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. I went to bed thinking “you’re all wrong – he’s real”. Now at 37, I hold that although there is a difference between fiction and non-fiction, fiction has a reality to it (Romeo and Juliet – and Snoopy – mean something to us!) So that is the conversation I had with my sister’s kids – that Santa is very REAL, he’s just FICTIONAL.

  6. Ibrahim Abdullahi says:

    It baffles my mind everytime i see intellectuals academic geniuses been carried away by the world’s greatest lie: if your psyche cannot differentiate for you between hoax/fiction and the truth, then i think a psychiatrist need to visit you. SANTAS is one of the successful lies in generations. Please ponder a little.

  7. Heidi says:

    It really all depends on the parents. I found out about Santa when I was 5, and I was devastated. She's lied to me (and others) a lot over the years, and it's only just now, as I go to reply to your question, that I realize why it must have upset me so much then.

    I must have realized in previous years that my mother lied, and knowing me, I probably tried to catch her in it. Now, she has Borderline Personality Disorder, which means that she believes any lie she makes up (even if multiple people try showing her the reality, she'll just say we all remembered wrong). So, she's really good at lying.

    I'm a very trusting and gullible person. I imagine I probably suspected that she lied over a lot of things, and Santa was the first lie I ever had 100% proof over.

    And to be honest, I don't believe that Santa itself is a lie. I believe the lie is in telling your child that he's a real life, animate being that *does* exist. I would've been able to cope a lot better if my mother didn't have a mental illness in the first place, or was at least smart enough not to reproduce had told me that Santa was the spirit of giving (a very Virginia-esque answer).

    I have a huge problem letting children believe that Santa is a real life person. It really grates against my moral code (which is *way* too honest for my own good; I often forget to give out the white lie to keep my relationships with others from being strained), but I grit my teeth (and bitch to my dad/friends) simply because I don't want to be the jackass that destroys a kid's misguided belief in Santa being a real person.

    When I have kids, I fully intend to tell them that Santa is the spirit of gift giving. And I also intend to put presents under the tree before Xmas Eve (though I plan on only filling the stockings on Xmas Eve, to replace the missed magic).

    When I've gotten presents from extended family (we moved 1,000 away from them when I was 5), they've been put under the tree before Xmas Eve. That was always a treat, because I got to take the boxes and shake them to try to determine what's inside.

    What magic was ruined by the truth of Santa was replaced by getting to guess what was inside presents. And replaced by my parents filling my stocking Xmas Eve, after I'd gone to bed.

    Also: we open presents Xmas Eve here, simply because my parents decided they liked their sleep (which hey, I totally don't blame them there!), and didn't want to be woken up at 3am to witness me opening presents (yes, I still am that obnoxious person!). I plan on doing this with my own kids, for the same reason (although, again, they'll have to wait to rot their teeth with candy from the stockings until Xmas morning, whenever they get up then).

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