Putting Santa on trial

posted at 5:01 pm on December 23, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

As the weekend draws to a close and we prepare for Christmas Eve, what more fitting time to look at a modest proposal from Dante Chinni at the Washington Post. The author is struggling with one of the perennial debates facing parents around the world… what to do when the kids become unsure about Santa Claus. The proposed solution can be summed up in the title.

Instead of leaving cookies, let’s give Santa the Boot

First, Santa leads to unfortunate parental contradictions. Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds. As parents, our job is to explain to them that those things aren’t there. When you turn off the light, it’s the same bedroom — just darker. We teach them to understand and to reason.

And yet, with Santa Claus we carve out an exception large enough to fly a sleigh through. We tell our kids to turn off logic and embrace magic. They just have to believe. But why? Why is some of what they believe silly and unfounded — such as ghosts — while Santa is noble and true?

This line of thought then devolves into the inherent unfairness of Santa Claus and the poor example this sets for the children. After all, as the argument goes, why would Santa bother keeping a list of who is naughty and who is nice if everyone winds up getting presents anyway? And why do the rich kids get more than the poor kids? It’s just not fair!

This brings us to the conclusion of this airing of grievances, wherein we learn that there’s really no need for the jolly old fat man anyway, and it’s time to give hm the old heave ho ho ho.

And that brings us to the third and most important reason I’m over Santa. We simply don’t need him. The world, the real world, is an incredible place all by itself. It is big and complicated and fascinating, and Santa Claus and magic cheapen it. This is something we grasp when children ask us questions like “Why is the sky blue?” or “What’s it like on the other side of the world?” The answers are amazing, thought-provoking and illuminating.

Sit down and talk to your kids about space. Try to explain how it all works. It’s more incredible than a magical fat man in a red suit.

Look, everyone is free to raise their own children as they see fit within the confines of common decency and the law, but this is just sad. After reading this piece I tried dredging my earliest memories up and I confess that I no longer even remember precisely when it was that I made the shift from believing Santa was bringing me gifts every year and negotiating with my parents. Whenever it was, it clearly didn’t leave too much of a mental scar on me and I know that I continued to enjoy Christmas with the family for years to come.

Is there some compelling reason to not continue the tradition of Santa Claus with children in the 21st century? Are we truly heading toward that much of a sterilized society? There’s plenty of time for them to grow up and discover the natural wonders of the universe without robbing them of the joys of the season. Perhaps the author should revisit the story of Virginia O’Hanlon..

Merry Christmas to you all.

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I’m 32 years-old and I am an Uncle. And I can you without a doubt that Santa is indeed real.

BigGator5 on December 23, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Just as with Christ, the reason for the season, there are those that want to take away a kids dream of what they will get from Santa! Santa is any person who gives to family, friends, those who have nothing for Christmas.

Why not let a bit of OUR holiday, Chrismas and Santa alone? Giving is what we do and kids for centuries have waited for Christmas morning for something left for good little girls and boys. If parents don’t want their kids to believe, that is what they decide.

A person can be Santa any day of the year if they choose to do so.
L

letget on December 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

No, I am not an anti-Clausite or a foot soldier in a war on Christmas. I do not want all traces of Santa expunged from society.

And that brings us to the third and most important reason I’m over Santa. We simply don’t need him.

Convenient of Dante Chinni to put divide the lie over two pages so it was harder to notice.

Dusty on December 23, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Is there some compelling reason to not continue the tradition of Santa Claus with children in the 21st century?

Who needs Santa Claus now that we have Obama ??? huh ? huh?

burrata on December 23, 2012 at 5:19 PM

I’ll skip the extended rant and just go right to the bottom line and point out that this is why we need school vouchers.

HitNRun on December 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Yet the myth that government can give you free stuff forever goes on and on.

I told my kids the story of Saint Nicholas and how he gave his family’s wealth to poor people in his town and that Santa Claus is how we choose to honor him. They were OK with that.

Odysseus on December 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I have a theory that in many cases (from personal experience) that parents from certain recent generations are just so damn selfish and wrapped up in themsleves that they don’t want to share any credit for gift giving with that Santa character.

Also, the same argument could apply to the magical Uncle Sam and his free money that gets doled out. Ironic, coming from WaPo.

reaganaut on December 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Instead of leaving cookies, let’s give Santa the Boot

First, Santa leads to unfortunate parental contradictions. Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds. As parents, our job is to explain to them that those things aren’t there. When you turn off the light, it’s the same bedroom — just darker. We teach them to understand and to reason.
======================================

Wait a tic,thats how Progressives view Conservatives!

Jus say’n,oh,the topic is Santa,oops,…sorry!
(sarc)

canopfor on December 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Geez, the Obamaland leftists ought to love ‘Santa’.

Schadenfreude on December 23, 2012 at 5:31 PM

I prefer Ann Althouse’s tack in addressing what’s become the age-old Christmas question by unreformed and unrepentant Grinches of what to do about Santa.

One needs ways to keep a smile on in the face of dealing with people who can never quite deal with reality and the often wonderful diversity it provides and must always find a way to make people conform to their preferred view for it.

Dusty on December 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM

‘Twas the night before Christmas
But before he could fly
Came a call from his doctor:
“Your cholesterol’s high!

Cut the cookies and milk
Or your heart’s gonna seize.
And that fat ’round your middle
Is too much for your knees!

You want kids to see you
On a coroner’s shelf?
Who’ll drive the sleigh–Rudolph?
Don’t be stupid, old elf.”

Santa slammed down the phone
And took pen into fist
‘Dear Virginia,’ he wrote,
‘I no longer exist.’

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on December 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Here is a laugh on a dreary day:

Not the story, the last line of the story.

cozmo on December 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Putting Santa on trial

…YOU CAN’T…!!!
He’s in Hawaii…!!!
…or is that a delay tactic….like everything else!

KOOLAID2 on December 23, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Having said that I believe in Santa Claus, I think we should bring back Krampus.

Thoughts?

BigGator5 on December 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Who is that Santa Claus everyone is talking about?

Archivarix on December 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Regarding a previous thread: Here’s an article on the dental assistant who was fired (not the woman HA has pictured), the dentist and his wife. Assuming she is not crazy, there is no way this woman would have had a romantic relationship with the dentist:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2252135/Melissa-Nelson-Judges-married-dentist-fired-aide-said-irresistibly-attractive.html?ICO=most_read_module

bw222 on December 23, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Speaking of Christmas…

Funniest Christmas gift ideas video EVER!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaveTws3VVk

You WILL laugh a LOT! I guarantee it!!

Ghostflames852 on December 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Now we know why we have never seen Allah’s face!

HoHoHo! The truth is out there!

Limerick on December 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Having said that I believe in Santa Claus, I think we should bring back Krampus.

Thoughts?

BigGator5 on December 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

BigGator5:Krampus,(IS) the Liberal Santa Claus!(sarc):)

canopfor on December 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Let’s just take away liberals and RHINOs. Let’s give the boot to anyone who tries telling me what to teach my children. Let’s take them away to hell and send them a bill for rent on Brimstone Ave.

nitzsche on December 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Krampus? Wasn’t that my wife before the hot flashes?

Limerick on December 23, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds.

Oh really? Well, parents better start coming clean about Big Sis and the Department of Homeland Security.

DaveDief on December 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Santa Claus is in fact real

DarkCurrent on December 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

First, Santa leads to unfortunate parental contradictions. Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds. As parents, our job is to explain to them that those things aren’t there. When you turn off the light, it’s the same bedroom — just darker. We teach them to understand and to reason.

How ridiculous is this guy? He loves to scare the sh!t out of kids with horror stories about his delusional catastrophic anthropogenic global warming that is going to kill everyone but he’s got a problem with an innocent tale told to kids about Sanata Claus? LOL. I guess he shouldn’t let kids read or see any sort of fiction, at all, which is what he seems to be getting at. I bet this guy loves the whole Twilight series, though – as is typical of leftists.

It’s a much bigger problem to have idiots like this given public voices in newspapers (even if it is only the fiction rag, WaPo) than little stories about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. At least, we get to see how these demented leftists develop their amazingly warped and damaged personalities. They’re too stupid, even as young kids, to understand the difference between a tale and fact, so when they are crushed by finding out that Santa doesn’t exist (unlike normal kids who just grow into it) his whole life is devastated and he spends the rest of his years crying to a psychologist and eating anti-anxiety medication that several psychiatrists have given to him while stewing over how he was lied to in the most indecent way by his parents with their tales of Sanata Claus coming down the chimney. Of course, he was more devastated to learn that Bugs Bunny wasn’t real and that rabbits can’t really talk … but he saves his intense hatred for his malevolent lying parents who showered him with gifts from an imaginary character.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

After reading this piece I tried dredging my earliest memories up and I confess that I no longer even remember precisely when it was that I made the shift from believing Santa was bringing me gifts every year and negotiating with my parents.

I always knew “Santa Claus” was a character of legend and what his character and his presence, figuratively, represented. Because that’s how my parents explained “Santa Claus” to me and in the Christian context that he was to be commemorated and enjoyed in our house and among our ‘culture,’ colloquially and religiously.

I always knew my parents were the bearers of the goods, physically, but I understood their gifting and the gifts themselves to be an act of receipt from God.

Thus, no conflict “growing up” with “discovery” that Santa “wasn’t real.” He IS real when you engage in the act and story he represents.

Perhaps, rather than “talk(ing) to your children about space,” particularly when most people don’t understand what “space” is except as “empty” (which it isn’t but that’s the Joe Biden rendition), try talking to them about literary figures created by people to represent their principles and beliefs of faith — that’d avoid having to get involved with Jesus Christ for the atheists and antagonists but it’d teach children what the Christmas ‘season’ and Santa Claus are about.

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 6:41 PM

A person can be Santa any day of the year if they choose to do so.
L

letget on December 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

1000+. :)

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds

yet they are totally prepared to understand gay relations, fisting and abortions ,right ?

burrata on December 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Santa leads to unfortunate parental contradictions. Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds. As parents, our job is to explain to them that those things aren’t there. When you turn off the light, it’s the same bedroom — just darker.

You know what that is? That’s a Liberal’s reveal that he doesn’t trust or value Liberals and is afraid to hope they, and he with them, will ever “change.”

Hope, the real thing, not the Obama-tinfoil-koolaid cup, is difficult to engage in when you’re sure nothing means nothing, “anyway.”

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Children do not fully understand reality. They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds

yet they are totally prepared to understand gay relations, fisting and abortions ,right ?

burrata on December 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Ha, you beat me to it. Hahaha…

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

nitzsche on December 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM

I hope you feel better. Merry Christmas.

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 6:51 PM

rationality/irrationality is circular.

One enters the realm of irrationality via extreme rational thought.

John Kettlewell on December 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM

How about we let kids be kids? Jeebus.

chewmeister on December 23, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Oh boy, twice in two days I get to post yet another of my true-to-life experiences.

The first image of Santa I had was when I was in a bathtub with my younger sister–my parents and my older sister arranged to have her fiance play Santa and ‘surprise us,’ and that, he did! I was about 8 yrs. old at the time and needless to say, I was more than skeptical!

My great-grandmother on Mom’s side happened to have the same birthday as myself. It’s in November.

The November after she passed, I was a little kid-8 yrs. old, or so. Three months to the day she passed, I was in our basement, where Mom & Dad had a huge antique mirror of hers. That day, I was thinking about her, and looked up to a smaller mirror opposite that huge one. That one (and only) day, I saw an image of my Grandma who somehow (I can’t really say how now) told me everything would be okay. I don’t know why, nor did I then, but I remember feeling at peace afterwards. Then, her image in the mirror faded away.

I have no explanation for it to this day. What I do know is she was right. The Man and I are still together, after 37 years; the junior man is healthy and self-reliant; and, together we are still ‘just us’ after 38 plus years. So, we’re okay. We’ll always be “okay” because well that is who we are.

So, maybe ‘that’s Santa,’ extolling his wisdom when he can. I don’t know, but I believe.

I wish you all the ability to spread the “merry” in our Christmas message.

jersey taxpayer on December 23, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 7:17 PM

I believe in Santa and have for all my 66 years. He embodies the spirit of giving at Christmas. And besides, my Dad always told me Santa must have been my patron saint with all the Christmases we have enjoyed!!! A Merry, Joyous Christmas to you all, with the blessings and gifts of the season. I hope I am politically incorrect and have offended many, many liberals all year long!

ultracon on December 23, 2012 at 7:18 PM

They fear that there are monsters in their closets and goblins under their beds. As parents, our job is to explain to them that those things aren’t there.

And so ends Doctor Who.

Axe on December 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Cool Yule” by Curt Elling

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

“Cool Yule” by Curt Elling

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Hmmm, unfortunately, refers to Christmas as “Xmas” but otherwise, it’s a cool tune about Santa.

Lourdes on December 23, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Elmo and Patsy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgIwLeASnkw

bw222 on December 23, 2012 at 7:33 PM

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

“VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Dear Mr. Dante Chinni,

STUFF IT!!!

Gothguy on December 23, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Ever think that liberals never have any real fun or sense of wonder?

They are all grim, gray, and institutionalized. They remind me of those stories about ugly, utilitarian buildings behind the old Iron Curtain.

I told my kids the story of Saint Nicholas and how he gave his family’s wealth to poor people in his town and that Santa Claus is how we choose to honor him. They were OK with that.

Odysseus on December 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

That’s about what we did.

INC on December 23, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Santa luuuuvs us all
and he sings too :O

burrata on December 23, 2012 at 7:51 PM

If you want to tell your kids that Santa isn’t real, fine. But at least tell them the truth – that Saint Nicholas was a real man who lived 1,700 years ago, that he believed in Christian charity and the giving of gifts to better the lives of his parishioners, and that when we give gifts at Christmas, we are following in his honored tradition – as well as in the tradition of the Magi who brought gifts to Christ at his birth.

Christmas is all about the celebration of the birth of a man who, whether you believe in his divinity or not, brought to the world a message of peace and love that to which we should all aspire. That man’s message has been the defining event of the past two millenniua of Western history. If you want to get rid of Santa Claus, fine, but make sure the kids know why Christmas is celebrated, why its important, and why gifts are given. That is every bit as much a part of the “real world” as anything else.

Wolf Howling on December 23, 2012 at 7:59 PM

I can just imagine what Dante Chinni’s children will say to him years later.

“Thanks a $%&# lot!”

GarandFan on December 23, 2012 at 8:25 PM

The left that says all things come from government and if you think you built something yourself, you are wrong. For them, Santa Claus is competition to be destroyed just like the GOP is competition to be destroyed not a means of balancing the system with a form of political checks and balances.

KW64 on December 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM

He thinks that Santa Clause is on a par with explaining space to a 7-year old? You’re right – that’s just sad. I hope his kids aren’t too crippled by the experience of being raised by someone who thinks like that; someone who believes that children are just smaller versions of rational adults. It’s beyond sad.

I don’t know that I ever believed in Santa Clause at all. Farm kids; practical kids; raised in the Lutheran Church. As far as I remember, Santa Clause was a fun story, and a source of enjoyment. But I don’t think I ever believed in Santa as reality; that kind of magic just doesn’t happen in the real world. Meanwhile, I’m happy to perpetuate the fun with my children.

Liberals live too much in fear of what might be, rather than dealing with what is. That’s why they are so persistent in projecting feelings, thoughts and causes onto other folks: it’s really just a reflection of themselves. Liberals spend their lives looking in the mirror. And apparently don’t like or are afraid of what they see.

ss396 on December 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Huh…it’s almost like they’re trying to “fundamentally change” Christmas, too…

Wow, do I feel sorry for the children of liberals.

butterflies and puppies on December 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

The reign of Santa Claus has nearly ended in our home. Our 9-year-old daughter told my wife and me earlier this year that she had figured out the truth about Saint Nick. And my 7-year-old son has clearly grown skeptical; the logistics just don’t make sense to him. I’m fairly certain this will be his last go-round.

Translation: my kids have outgrown it so now is the time that everyone should end the Santa thing too. This is my 7yr old’s last go-around therefore it should be every kid’s last go-around no matter how old they are. We enjoyed it and now nobody else should ever enjoy it again. Do what I say, I am the Christmas dictator!!

Dollayo on December 23, 2012 at 11:34 PM

I can clearly remember looking out of the window up at a black starry sky on Christmas Eve at age 6, head in hands, listening for the sound of sleigh bells, mesmerized by the magic of Santa and everything he stood for. This a-hole wants to take that away from kids?

Sharke on December 24, 2012 at 1:23 AM

Huh…it’s almost like they’re trying to “fundamentally change” Christmas, too…

Wow, do I feel sorry for the children of liberals.

butterflies and puppies on December 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Some of them will be eating a nut roast on Tuesday.

Sharke on December 24, 2012 at 1:24 AM

What never ceases to astound and amaze me is the level some “journalists” like Dante Chinni will go to get as much mileage out as is humanly possible of their allotted 15 minutes of fame.

Case in point, this bucket of bilge that someone at the Washington Post felt was worthy of being considered an opinion worth sharing with the rest of humanity.

Frankly, what Dante here needs to do is take a leisurely stroll out of his office and go on down to the nearest homeless shelter on Christmas morning and maybe hang out there for the day handing out food and such to people who are just barely clinging to whatever hope they may have remaining to them. Or maybe volunteer some time that day to work in a nursing home, tending to some residents who feel lost and in some cases abandoned on Christmas.

Or maybe Dante should just go visit a local church, one that still practices traditional beliefs and listen to the real Christmas story just one more time.

Then come on back to the office and re-read this garbage that the Post was arrogant enough to put in widespread print.

Then tell the rest of us again that someone like Santa Claus needs to be given the boot.

And this time, do it with a straight face.

pilamaye on December 24, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Dear Jazz,

You lost me at ‘Washington Post.’

Merry Christmas.

locomotivebreath1901 on December 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I told my kids the story of Saint Nicholas and how he gave his family’s wealth to poor people in his town and that Santa Claus is how we choose to honor him. They were OK with that.

Odysseus on December 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Whereas with the liberal agenda – they want to raise taxes on everyone so that the government takes everyone’s wealth and gives it to the poor (except for the large percentage that they keep, or give to their friends).

In my family the wisdom passed from older kids to next younger ones as the “dawning of the light of reason” filtered through the lineup of kids was “keep believing in Santa, when you stop is when you start getting underwear and socks for Chiristmas”

krome on December 24, 2012 at 1:11 PM

My problem is that Santa has replaced God to too many kids out there. They behave because they fear Santa, not God. They act kindly so they can be rewarded by Santa, instead of God. If rewarded they give their thanks to Santa, not God. They conside ra heretic one disbelieves in Santa, as opposed to God.

None of this means I won’t celebrate with my family, give gifts, or that I want to kill the myth, but it IS a myth and it’s embrace DOES have consequences which we should at least acknowledge.

abobo on December 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Veggie Tales story of St. Nicholas cured all our worries. Tells the story of the real St. Nicholas, makes visual references to the cultural Santa, explains how the spirit of Christmas is giving to the less fortunate. And my kids get exposure from age 3.

They still talk about Santa and visit him at the mall, but I’m reasonably certain my kids take a cue from the adults and do it with a wink and a nod. I certainly don’t encourage Santa-ism by doing the whole “he’s real and magical and comes to your house and eats the cookies” bit.

The Schaef on December 24, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Dante Chinni represents the sterile, dull small minds of liberals who would have all of us marching lock step into the Orwellian nightmare and call it happiness. Newspeak at its best.

georgeofthedesert on December 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM