Holiday Spirit Does Not Depend on Make-Believe

Amber Chen, Opinion Editor

When the holidays roll around, many children are overjoyed by the magic they feel from believing in their favorite holiday characters, Santa Claus and his flying reindeer. However, an equivocal question plagues many parents’ minds every time the holiday season approaches: how do they preserve their children’s belief in holiday magic?

To avoid the possibility of ruining the holiday spirit for their children, many parents continue their facade. Although they have good intentions, they are only avoiding the inevitable complication of their child learning the truth, be it from school or from the Internet. 

According to responses from 103 PVHS students, around 58 percent of students found out the truth from sources other than their own parents, such as the Internet, peers and other adults aside from their parents.

Oftentimes, parents try to do everything they can to keep their children believing in Santa. After all, their belief has benefits: parents can use Santa to motivate their children to “be good.” 

Furthermore, parents worry that their children will feel betrayed upon learning the truth, and won’t feel the holiday joy anymore. So, they spin story after story. They stress themselves out worrying about when their child should learn the truth, wonder whether they should be the one to shatter their child’s innocent belief and ponder if their child will resent them for their well-intentioned lies. 

Although these worries are valid, an overwhelming majority of the students surveyed responded that they did not lose trust in their parents after learning that Santa Claus is make-believe. 

That being said, it is advisable for parents to emphasize that although Santa Claus is significant to childhood holiday traditions, his significance extends past belief in his physical existence: he also helps create the abstract existence of the exuberant holiday joy.

Ultimately, telling the truth doesn’t mean destroying holiday spirit. Children are surprisingly resilient and exceptionally imaginative. Just like those of adults, children’s creative minds give them the ability to hold two ideas in their minds at once: the knowledge that Santa isn’t real, as well as the notion that he inspires real joy within their communities. They can still leave cookies and milk for “Santa”, eagerly anticipate their gifts “from” him and decorate the house festively all while knowing he only exists in their imaginations. 

The lessons kids have learned from believing in Santa, such as respecting their parents’ household rules and being kind to others, are what really matter. Children can learn to emulate Santa’s generous nature and do their best to make everyone cheerful during the holidays.

Holiday spirit and magic doesn’t depend on belief in real magic; rather, it runs on the delight and gratitude felt during the holiday seasons.