Embrace the meaning of Santa
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.