Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moral Implications of Santa Claus

I was reading an interview with Matt Damon and I loved his comments about his daughter and Santa Claus:
…it’s an easier gig than the one he just left, debating the moral implications of Santa Claus mythology with his 10-year-old daughter.

"We don't allow lying under any circumstances,'' Damon explains ruefully, 'and we've always taught her that. But now she's found out the real story on Santa Claus. `So you were lying!' she says. 'But it's like a great cultural lie,' we tell her. No. 'It's everyone,' we tell her. No. 'It's a fun lie.' No. . . . The argument is just not going well."

I know it’s silly, but this is the reason I’m hesitant to convince Holden that Santa is real.

Because I would be lying. And that’s wrong.

You think it would be easy putting your foot down when deciding not to teach your children to believe in any imaginary creatures, but it’s a lot harder then you think.

One of the many joys of parenthood...


  1. I totally agree with you! (and Matt Damon). I always felt guilty talking to my kids about Santa and the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy because I knew I was lying. Of course as adults the majority of us suffer no ill consequences, and even now my kids seem to be unscathed, but when they're little it just seems like a a complete contradiction. You tell them lying is bad, and yet we lie to them. We're teaching them by example that some lying is okay, even if we say it isn't. Culture and parenting are complicated. I suppose that's something we can teach them also. There's never just black and white...the world is full of shades of gray.

  2. You have to remember though, the joy of beleiving in Santa! That made Christmas special for me!

    If there is ever a good lie, Santa is one.

  3. I don’t remember believing in Santa. I think that’s one of the reason this is bothering me so much.

    I totally get your point, but I don’t want to teach him that there are good lies. But I do really like what Embee said about turning this into an example of the complex situations in our culture. I don't want him growing thinking life is so black/white. I think that limited view point hurts children in the long run.

    It’s a tricky situation.


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