Em­brace the mean­ing of Santa

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The ar­rival of Christ­mas presents a per­plex­ing chal­lenge for many Aus­tralian par­ents of young chil­dren.

While find­ing the right type as well as bal­ance of gifts be­tween sib­lings is high on the list, the hard­est job can of­ten be sim­ply com­ing to grips with the idea of Santa Claus.

It’s okay to fos­ter the ro­mance of a visit from a mag­i­cal, gift-giv­ing vis­i­tor in a red suit, but it’s main­tain­ing the idea with wide-eyed young­sters in the lead-up to the big day that can be hard work.

Mak­ing the leg­end fit in with a mod­ern world, such as avoid­ing a po­ten­tially haz­ardous mix­ing of mes­sages in­clud­ing strangers bear­ing gifts can be hard work. Yet, some mums and dads go to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths to jus­tify the sto­ries and ex­pec­ta­tions sur­round­ing the ar­rival of Santa Claus.

Some use the leg­end to pro­mote tra­di­tion. Oth­ers ex­plore it as fam­ily op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in the won­der­ful world of child­hood fan­tasy.

Some even use the ‘naughty and nice’ tool to keep a lid on grow­ing child­hood anx­i­ety as the big day ap­proaches.

In a world of com­mer­cial­ism, with the im­age of Santa ev­ery­where, we can only imag­ine or try to think back to our own child­hoods to un­der­stand what young­sters swept up in the Santa leg­end think. This is es­pe­cially so when a great va­ri­ety of San­tas turn up at Christ­mas events and fam­ily work shows. While some older young­sters, who have some vague un­der­stand­ing of the bluff keep tight-lipped about what they ei­ther sus­pect or know, there are al­ways some with a trade­mark look of con­fu­sion when some­thing doesn’t seem quite right.

We’ve seen par­ents come up with all sorts of cre­ative an­swers to in­no­cent ques­tions. One is, of course the dou­ble bluff, that the San­tas who ap­pear in shop­ping cen­tres or at fam­ily gath­er­ings, are in fact Santa’s ‘se­cret special helpers’. Oth­ers take it even fur­ther and em­ploy the whole mag­i­cal as­pect of Christ­mas to sug­gest, for ex­am­ple, that the rea­son Santa can get into houses with­out chim­neys is be­cause he is a spirit.

Aha! Adding a few rid­dles that the spirit of Santa is the same as the spirit of Christ­mas and is an ideal that only ex­ists ‘if you be­lieve’ has long been a win­ner. With this one as a par­ent you at least can’t be ac­cused of ly­ing to your chil­dren. The foun­da­tion of the leg­end of Santa Claus sits at the heart of the idea of fam­ily and the giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing of gifts and-or good will. Un­der­stand­ing Santa is about un­der­stand­ing the value of fam­i­lies, re­gard­less in the many and var­i­ous forms they come in th­ese days.

For any child to miss out on at least the idea of Santa prob­a­bly means they are miss­ing out on much more and deeper, more pro­found lessons of giv­ing and tak­ing.

The truth is that any­one can be Santa, the great­est of all su­per­heroes, and if that is the evo­lu­tion of the leg­end in the mind of a child, then let it con­tinue.

Merry Christ­mas.

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