Many people in the United States celebrate the cultural holiday of Christmas every year. Part of these festivities usually involves the legend of Santa Claus.He is a magical man who lives in the North Pole, keeping a watchful eye on children’s behavior all year long, then flying all over the world on Christmas eve to sneak down chimneys and deliver gifts to all those who have passed the naughty-nice test.
For somefamilies Santa Claus is central to the holiday. The belief in Santa has become a tradition passed along from parent to child. The realization of Santa Claus as a purely mythical figure and, later in life, the parental portrayal of him are culturally significant rites of passage.
Why wouldn’t you encourage your children to believe in Santa?
Some question the value and lessons taught by the construction of Santa Claus. In order to establish a belief in Santa, parents need to lie to their children. Finding out the truth can lead to a sense of betrayal and leave a child feeling devastated. Critics argue that belief in Santa promotes materialism, normalizes exploitation labor, and secularizes and commercializes a religious holiday. For many other peoplewho practice different faiths, Santa is too closely tied to Christian beliefs.
What is the value of Santa Claus? What is lost without him? How much pressure is there on parents to create and sustain the story of Santa? What are the costs to the parent-child relationships? What are the benefits to the family? Does the notion of Santa instill better ethics and morals into children? Is it a compromise of faith for people who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist? Is it hypocritical for agnostics or atheists?
Please join us this week for our discussion.
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.