Monday, September 16, 2013

How St. Nick and his posse made me an irredeemable fibber

Last week I mentioned the fact that we need to deal with the whole Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy issue and the way in which it turns parents into rotten stinking liars.

Right? I mean, no matter whether you're someone who celebrates Christmas, Easter and edentulism, the fact is that if you encourage a belief in these beloved characters among your children, you're deceiving them.

And please understand, I don't see anything wrong with it. I've done it myself with my own kids. I grew up enjoying presents from Santa, candy from the Bunny, and cash dough from the Fairy.

It's just, you know, you tell your kids not to lie and then you...lie.

Well, you don't "lie" really, in the sense of a malicious attempt to distort the truth. But I don't think "deceive" is too strong a word to use here.

Though it still has a pretty negative connotation. Can we say you "deceive with positive intent?"

Sure. But you still deceive.

As much as I love Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, the only way they work is if you distract your child from what is a pretty obvious reality. For their own good, I agree, but there's still a little sleight of hand at work here.

In a nutshell, here are the main factors in deciding whether to do S.E.B.T.F. (Santa-Easter Bunny-Tooth Fairy) with your offspring:


  • It's fun! I love the looks on the kids' faces when they come down on Christmas or Easter morning, or when they proudly show off the quarters the Tooth Fairy brought them (and their newly formed gap-tooth smile).
  • You did it yourself when you were a kid, and you want your own children to have that same joy.
  • All the other parents pretty much do it and, let's be honest here, who wants to be the freak who doesn't? (The answer, by the way, is "plenty of people." I know several of them.)

  • Did we mention you're a rotten stinking liar?
  • It's also expensive. Seriously, there's money to be shelled out in every instance.
  • L-I-A-R!
I honestly can't say I'm in any way morally conflicted by this. I just think it's funny how we all collectively have decided that this particular lie is OK.

I always enjoy when the kids get older and you can see they just can't bring themselves to believe in S.E.B.T.F. anymore (and of course once you figure out that one is fake, the other two dominoes fall pretty quickly). In many cases, though, they don't tell you they've caught on because they're afraid the present/money train will pull away, never to be seen again.

Which is really only true of the Tooth Fairy, I guess. Once they know what's going on there, we stop giving our kids money for lost teeth. But even if you get past Santa and the Easter Bunny, you still get presents on Christmas and chocolate on Easter.

At least that's what I've always promised my kids I would do. I hope they still believe me after I've lied to them for so many years.

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