Tuesday, November 20, 2007

'Tis The Season

I began thinking about this subject because of a post on another site. "To Santa, or not to Santa?" That was the question.

Religion plays no role at all in our decision to remove Santa from our Christmases, instead our adamant insistence on being politically correct* takes precedence. I'm just not wild about the precedent the Santa story teaches our children. How would we truly simplify this Christmas legend for our kids and people from other cultures?

This one night a year, if you're fortunate enough to receive the vague and arbitrary distinction of the "Nice List," Santa Claus will invade your house by defying all the laws of physics when sliding down the chimney, thus effectively committing a class "A" felony as he breaks into your home.

Furthermore, your child must coax this wildly obese figure, with the most unhealthy of cookies and drinks, so that he will be more than generous with his gift selection. Bribing a fat person with food? That is the ultimate stereotype that I wish to avoid teaching my girls.

We all know grossly overweight people use food as their coping mechanism; so there must be some kind of deep-ceded emotional issue, perhaps between he and Mrs. Claus, that makes St. Nick feel as if he needs these goodies to mask his inner pain. Perhaps the anguish is caused by his mistreatment of elf-kind.

This elf labor that is such a part of the folklore surrounding Christmas is possibly the worst lesson of all. How many little people have been subjected to ridicule and elf references throughout their life because of the lie of Santa Claus? The idea that this whole race of people are mandated to build toys year-round, without any known compensation except the "joy in their heart," shows how deep the lies and societal inequality go in this yule tide terror.

I, for one, applaud the anti-Claus households for not perpetuating the lie and scandal that is Santa. I would much rather deal with the family dysfunction without having to carry on the pretense of St. Nick; a lie that is sure to lead to a child's utter disappointment when they find out their parents lied to them for a better part of a decade. Grandma's alcoholism is one thing; Santa's non-existence is another.

This type of deceit can result in years of therapy and resentment by the child toward their parents. It's a psychological trauma that is easily avoided.

Happy Holidays.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*We have one of the most politically incorrect families in all of America. This entire column is meant as satire. There is absolutely no disrespect at all toward the families that choose not to employ the legend of Santa to celebrate Christmas.

15 comments:

southerndaddy said...

1. Belief in Santa does not necessarily detract from the sanctity of Christmas. It does so only if Santa is the only thing celebrated on that day. Any family that includes prayer, ideally with co-religionists at a house of prayer, and speaks of the deeper meaning of the holy day, has nothing to worry about. On the contrary, religious homes need to include enormous amounts of joy and fun in order to raise children who will love their religion and love God. 2. Parents are neither dishonest nor hypocritical when they allow their children to believe in Santa. Is a parent who tells a child that the Tooth Fairy left a dollar for the child's tooth dishonest? If a child meets Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, must an honest parent say to the child, "That's not really Mickey, he's just a paid employee in a Mickey Mouse outfit"? Of course not. God forbid parents should eliminate all pretend characters from a child's life. And as for truth, we tell children whole truths when they are old enough to understand them, which usually means once they ask. Otherwise parents would tell young children the anatomical details of sexual intercourse in order to explain how they were conceived. The issue of parental truth-telling only arises if you answer falsely to a question your child asks. If your child directly asks, "Is there really such a man as Santa Claus?" it is wrong to say yes with no further explanation. A parent should come as close to never lying to a child as possible. 3. It is pretty hard to imagine that anyone ever stopped believing in God solely because they discovered Santa Claus is a pretend character. You might as well argue that young people become atheists when they realize Barney isn't really a dinosaur or that no duck talks. Only if you, the parent, believe that God is no more real than Santa will your child ever link the two. 4. If you are worried about your child becoming materialistic, limit the number and price of gifts he or she can request of Santa. As one young woman told me, her mother used to tell her, "Jesus only got three gifts, why should you get more?" Or tell your child that Santa takes the most gifts to poor children who don't have nearly as much as he or she does. 5. No matter whom the gifts come from, kids have to be taught to be grateful for them. If your child is grateful to Santa, then gratitude has been learned, and that is what matters. Needing the gratitude to be directed to you is self-serving. Let your child learn to be grateful to you for all you do on the other 364 days of the year. If your family does not celebrate Christmas, none of this applies. But if it does, let your little children enjoy Santa. It is one more thing that contributes to their innocence. And the longer you enable your children to be innocent, the happier and healthier they will be as adults. They will have a whole lifetime to learn that Santa -- and a lot more -- isn't real. Why rush?

Alan Gable said...

Geez. It's Santa. Lighten up.

Cameron Clark said...

Thanks for the lecture. I needed it because I am, of course, exceedingly stupid and petulant.

Allow me to respond as succinctly as possible.

You could wikipedia tongue-in-cheek, but I'm not sure that would help you understand the subtle undertones of "over-statement," or "mockery."

Southerdaddy, did you attend Freed-Haredman University and major in Bible? Because that would explain the manuscript of a 5-point sermon in long-winded style to respond to someone else's point that was not on my site.

Just to clarify: My post my sarcastic and so is this response. Don't be upset, it's meant to be humorous.

"It's like I'm playing cards with my sisters kids."- Johnny "Mad Cat" Tyler

southerndaddy said...

Please watch the movie again. It's "brother's kids." But thank you for showing us your deep affection for Billy Bob Thorton. (the picture above and the movie quote)...do you celebrate his whole catalog? I have never heard of Freed Hardeman school.

southerndaddy said...

I googled it and found out that you spelled the name of the place wrong...I thought you alluded to not being petulant?

tayers44 said...

Woah, gentleman, I just stumbled upon your rants....why we hating on FHU?

Cameron Clark said...

I understand that sarcasm is sometimes lost on people. I will respond to your five point plan after lunch.

Jared Gable said...

There is really no need to pick on Freed-Hardeman, bless their hearts.

Cameron Clark said...

Ok, Southerndaddy, my responses are written below the sections where I quoted you.

I hope it is thoroughly established that my entire post was satirical, and we can move on with the understanding that the other 47 visitors of the page (today) grasped that truth from the moment they read it.

1. "Belief in Santa does not necessarily detract from the sanctity of Christmas."-

I totally agree.

"On the contrary, religious homes need to include enormous amounts of joy and fun in order to raise children who will love their religion and love God."-

What was said that would make you begin with "on the contrary?" I'm really not sure with whom you are arguing.

2. "Parents are neither dishonest nor hypocritical when they allow their children to believe in Santa."-

That's your opinion. By this point in your response you're starting to get preachy, and the "Enter" key to separate paragraphs is on the right hand side of your keyboard.

(If you're gonna criticize someone's spelling, you better have your grammatical house in order. A weak argument criticizes structure, not content; and I'm still not sure what it is I misspelled. I'll be happy to learn something though.)

"If a child meets Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, must an honest parent say to the child, "That's not really Mickey, he's just a paid employee in a Mickey Mouse outfit"? Of course not."-

That's the parent's decision.

The initial approach of your whole argument is based upon a religious perspective. If a parent has "worked out their own salvation with much fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12) they have reached an honest conclusion based upon the best judgment of their faith in service to something higher than they. Also, punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.

"And as for truth, we tell children whole truths when they are old enough to understand them,"-

A more true and wise statement has never been uttered.

"3. It is pretty hard to imagine that anyone ever stopped believing in God solely because they discovered Santa Claus is a pretend character."

I would imagine that as well.

"You might as well argue that young people become atheists when they realize Barney isn't really a dinosaur or that no duck talks."-

Your addled mind came up with the conclusion that I had any serious argument at all, and at no point in the satire was that even mentioned.

"4. If you are worried about your child becoming materialistic, limit the number and price of gifts he or she can request of Santa."-

I didn't argue that point satirically either. The way you patronize your reader is going to win you points every time.

""Jesus only got three gifts, why should you get more?" Or tell your child that Santa takes the most gifts to poor children who don't have nearly as much as he or she does."-

These are very good and poignant statements.

"Needing the gratitude to be directed to you is self-serving. Let your child learn to be grateful to you for all you do on the other 364 days of the year."-

Your assumption of a parent's motive is beyond asinine. If someone wants to eliminate Santa Clause from the celebration of Christmas it's because they narcissistically need all the gratitude from their children? That is terrible deductive reasoning, and it's one of the biggest reasons I responded to most of your statements with sarcasm and contempt.

Who are you to levy your thoughts as facts on someone else's household? Try to write things like, "My house celebrates Christmas in this manner...., and I don't believe it is damaging to my children's understanding of God or my relationship with the truth."

The above example is both pure opinion and respectful. If you decide to share your thoughts on Martha Rogers' site (the woman who originated the discussion) you better share your thoughts exactly that respectfully, because that's what her and her family deserve.

"let your little children enjoy Santa. It is one more thing that contributes to their innocence. And the longer you enable your children to be innocent, the happier and healthier they will be as adults. They will have a whole lifetime to learn that Santa -- and a lot more -- isn't real. Why rush?"-

That is the best and most respectful portion of your argument. I'm glad you wrote 1/4 of what you said, but I wish you had done it more respectfully and on Martha's site instead of mine.

If you think my response is disrespectful and condescending, it's the tone I perceived from you. If my perception was not reality, then I truly beg your pardon, and ask that you correct my mistake. I will do my best to make it right.

Maybe I shouldn't have responded like that anyway, but I am a flawed person who will always engage a person acting a certain way.

I hope you wonder over here more often and write on the subjects that interest you; but don't be surprised if a disrespectful comment garners a disrespectful response.

I'll brush up on my Tombstone quotes when I find the time, but it is important to me to quote those lines accurately.

"You may go now."

southerndaddy said...

"Perhaps poker's not your game, I know, why don't we have a spelling contest?" The school that you spoke of and pigeon-holed me as an alumni of was mispelled. I did check their website, and they seem to be a great institution of faith. Did you attend there? This is me being nice due to the fact that I do not know you and you did not present anything in your column as satire. Maybe I should do more homework if it is going to bring about such a hostile response. I am enthralled by your page. Anyime I said "you" I meant people in general. It was no reflection upon you and "liz" or your offspring.

Cameron Clark said...

Cool. I leave you with this...

"Apparently my hypocrisy knows no bounds."

Anonymous said...

Cameron,
Rarely do I disagree with you, but man oh man do I ever on this Santa issue! We love Santa at our house and he is a big deal to both our kids. The memories that we have as children and traditions surrounding him are magical and I wouldn't give anything for all of that. I agree with the person who told you to "lighten up"!!! Really!! I can't believe ya'll don't do Santa with Ainsley. She is really missing out. Our whole month centers around everything Santa, from pictures with and sitting in his lap, to making cookies for him, and Kaylee has always written him the sweetest notes! You should really think about this some more! Allison

Cameron Clark said...

LOL!!! Allison,

Alan Gable was telling that first responder to "lighten up."

The whole column is a joke. Satire. The previous 11 comments on the article are the back and forth about that misunderstanding.

Look, I obviously need to work on my writing style if people really believe that I don't participate in Christmas because of possible violations of midget rights.

LOL! LOL!

Taft, are you seeing this, man?

tayers44 said...

My Man Cameron:

Yes I am and this is great! I cannot remember the last time that a blog brought me so much joy.

I am now in love with the "enter" button because you called out southerndaddy on it. You can tell who has typed these before and who hasn't.

I am desperate to look like a pro.

The store called today and that have your Festuvus decorations ready as soon as you can pick them up.

Nicole McIntyre said...

I like Santa and Jesus...