I do not have any children, yet, but I pledge to tell them the truth about Santa Claus from the beginning. I will not pretend/lie that Santa Claus is a real person who delivers gifts all over the world to children on "Jesus' birth day". In what type of world is that possible? A magical, miracle filled world. But that's not the world we live in and I don't want children to get the wrong idea. I will let them know that Santa Claus is "make-believe" just like Superman and Star Wars.
If we are truly free to believe what we want and pass that onto our children then my children will be in kindergarten debunking Santa Claus. :)
It is a little known fact that the North American aboriginals were raising their children to be well balanced members of their community without spanking or hitting their children before Europeans came to the Americas. Considering that and the reality that we know a whole lot more about the world, history, the nature of life then did our grandparents we should be open to new ideas when it comes to the education and relationships parents have with their children.
I believe that telling children Santa Claus is real when they are young is the first remember-able lie that parents tell their children. When a person is young they are still learning how to remember. This accounts for why we don't remember the earliest years of our childhood.
I still remember the pain of finding out Santa Claus was not real. On reflection I experienced a major episode of cognitive-dissonance. I remember being in complete disbelief of this new fact. If Santa were not real then my parents lied to me? If Santa were not real who gave me those gifts from Santa? Why would they lie to me? Where was the reasoning?
There is no reasoning! All that remains is an ironic similarity between a child's head over heels faith in Santa and an adults head over heels faith in Jesus. The study of Santa and the building of his folklore can be of great interest when contrasted with how other mythical characters such as Jesus developed. There was a Saint Nicholas who was known for his gift giving and after his death was consider a saint for children (as well as sailors and other things) even though he was never formally made a saint. These tidbits of historicity can be pillars of foundation for folklore.
If you are giving gifts to your children and spending quality time with them over the holidays, where is the need to tell them the gifts are from Santa. Tell them it's you! They will love you instead of Santa. Get them to respect you. Let them know other children are not as fortunate and their parents lie to them about Santa. No child will respect you for crafting an elaborate time extensive lie. It's as simple as equating Santa Claus and Mother Goose. Children understand nursery rhymes are not real.
Christians started the tradition of tagging a new ideologically based holiday/festival on top of a pre-existing one. Remember Saturnalia? It was the religious (often referred to as pagan) festival of ancient Rome near the end of December. Christian developers placed Jesus' birth day as December 25th so that one holiday could be placed over/next to the already existing holiday. No Christian then or now could determine Jesus' actual "birth day" and this is because Jesus is mythical and was therefore never born in reality. If you would like a reference to a modern religious institution attempting to do the same thing the 4th century Christians successfully accomplished then see Iran. The Iranian New Year (Norooz) which is part of the pre-Islamic culture in Iran and dates back 2500 years (almost a millenium before Islam) is being swarmed by new Islamic public holidays around Norooz to drown out the non-Islamic celebrations.
Perhaps, although I'm speculating, the cultural crafters of Santa Claus (who were Enlightened) had the intention to drown out Baby Jesus with Father Christmas and send the future children (all of us) a hidden message!
My proposal is that we should worship the cell and more specifically the human and plant cells (Eukaryote) during the December holiday season. Tag a new ideologically based celebration to an old one. We should launch an army of atheist/biologist artists to craft the stories, the new traditions, the poems and songs of our new holiday. In the spirit in which the Mitochondria gives energy to the cell we should give gifts symbolic of the energy and love we have for friends and family.
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