The idea of a fat man riding in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer makes perfect sense, right? To older kids and adults, this idea is laughable at best, but to little children it is magical and brings a smile to their face. Would it be wrong to deny them this pleasure? Or is it wrong to lie to their faces, knowing that one day they will find out the truth?
I believed in Santa Claus longer than most children do. I must have been pushing 10 or 11 before my parents finally told me the truth. I had my doubts before, but everytime I asked they told me he was real (in order to keep my younger siblings believing). They were always careful to have different wrapping paper and make sure we were asleep. After I was told the truth Christmas was less magical, I was less involved with the decorations each year. I didn’t feel betrayed by my parents for lying to me, I was still getting presents and how I received them didn’t make much difference.
It was not hard for my parents to keep up the lie, because I grew up in a largely Christian community so all of the kids celebrated Christmas and believed in Santa. But many families do not have that luxury. Their kids are interacting with kids that do not celebrate Christmas, therefore Santa doesn’t give them gifts. This can often puzzle a child and the parents will just add more lies to the equation. Here is a link to one woman’s experience with the Santa Claus lie with her own children http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/113516/The_Biggest_Parenting_Lie_Santa
Both sides of the arguement have good points.
Those who are for the Santa Claus Lie want their children to experience the magic of Christmas the same way that they did when they were younger. They want their children to believe in the fantasy and magic of the world, before they are no longer able to.
Those against the Santa Claus Lie argue that it is immoral to lie to children. That when they finally learn the truth, the children will start to question everything else their parents have taught them. Telling them that Santa Claus is not real from the begining would not cause the child’s life to be at risk so it is not justified.
I wonder if “Dirty Hands” can be tied into this at all. Would Machiavelli consider telling children that Santa Claus exists an example of “Dirty Hands” because the act of lying is immoral, or would the fact that the parents know that one day the children will find out that it was a liar disqualify it? Is it justified to lie to children about Santa Claus being real? Or is the truth the better option here?