I’m by no means an expert in any of the related fields, but it seems to me that the Santa Claus myth trains people that belief is as good as, and often better than, fact. Maybe it’s time we have a more realistic Christmas.
I like a lot of Christmas parts: it being better to give than to receive, emphasizing familial and other relationships. But how can you expect kids to understand the value of money when you didn’t even buy their gifts? Santa Claus made that PS5!
Why is Mom always wringing her hands about me breaking my iPhone? She didn’t buy it.
Sure, kids later grow up to understand Santa Claus isn’t real, but the Christmas myth is so closely married to every year’s economic performance it’s not like it completely goes away.
It’s getting more involved for parents too, thanks to the Elf on the Shelf addition to the Christmas workload. What was once a kind of silly-fun put-on on Christmas eve — laying out cookies and milk, taking a bite of one cookie — is now a month-long police procedural where a fake elf does mischief every night.
I want kids to be happy. My parents did all this stuff for me and more. So, so much more. But if I had become an ardent flat-earther or other conspiracy theorist, could you really blame me?