The myth of jolly old Saint Nick bearing gifts to girls and boys on Christmas Eve may not be as innocent as we believe – it can actually be damaging to our children.
1. The Santa Claus myth requires that parents lie to their children. The excitement of the myth itself is not valuable enough to outweigh the damage done by lying to young children. At an age where children trust their parents so implicitly, that trust should not be eroded by such a blatant lie.
2. The Santa Clause myth relies upon weakness in young children’s rational thought processes, possibly inhibiting their cognitive development.
3. In order to reinforce belief in the Santa Myth, parents must stage elaborate deceptions, making up stories, explanations, and laying clues as to Santa’s presence, further ensnaring a child’s developing intellect and trust.
4. The Santa Claus Myth promotes lazy parental discipline and instills unhealthy fear in children by convincing them Santa is watching their actions and will praise or punish accordingly when the gifts are doled out.
5. Santa Clause bears an uncanny resemblance to a god-like figure, in that he reigns from an isolated location but is omniscient in his knowledge of their good and bad deeds, handing out judgment on the appointed day. If parents identify with an organized religion, this myth undermines the power of the true god-figure, and on the other hand, if the parents do not identify with a particular religion, the Santa myth is unintentionally instilling that belief system in disguise.
6. The Santa myth inhibits moral development by simplifying a child’s understanding of good and bad, making them believe they can be classified by either one label or the other, without taking into account the true consequences of positive or negative behaviour.
7. The Santa Claus Myth promotes selfish, simplified behaviour by associating “good” and “bad” behaviour with material gain.
8. The Santa Claus Myth can be found by some children to be frightening and dispiriting; inflicting on them the belief that a stranger can watch their actions daily for the purpose of judgement, and can invade their privacy further by entering their house ind the night can be unsettling to say the least.