St. Nicholas first appeared sometime around 280 A.D. in the form of a monk.
His kindness and proclivity towards gift-giving gave life to the modern-day Santa Claus. Over the next 1,738 years, St. Nicholas legends would spread across the globe, giving rise to many different versions of the monk, each more fantastical than the last.
Now he is known as a round and jolly fellow who delivers presents once a year to good little girls and boys.
Do you remember learning Santa Claus isn’t real?
I’d wager most people don’t, myself included.
We were either too young to remember or we figured it out for ourselves as we grew older.
This certainly didn’t tarnish the holiday season for me.
In fact, it let me enjoy it even more than I previously had.
Now, I don’t need to think about some fat old man watching over my every deed to make sure I was good.
I could eat that extra cookie or stay up an hour past bedtime, worry free, knowing my presents weren’t in danger.
Telling children Santa isn’t real shouldn’t be a bad thing.
It may seem materialistic, but letting your child know that all those colorful boxes under the tree came from you can benefit your relationship with them.
Presents are a physical representation of someone’s love.
Letting them know that there isn’t some magical man up north bringing them the newest Bionicle and instead it’s you, shows them that you care.
You love them enough to research their hobbies and find a gift that they will enjoy.
Sure, they might be 9 years old and won’t remember your gifts a few years from now, but it’s the building blocks that matter.
The presents as a token of affection allow them to see your love manifested as hours of happiness and play.
I don’t want to downplay Santa’s part in the joy felt during the Christmas season.
Something as beloved as Christmas deserves a mascot, and who better than kindness and love personified.
Ignoring the rampant disregard of labor laws, Santa is a great role model for young kids everywhere.
It is important, however, for children to also learn the power of thanks.
Nothing feels quite as good as seeing a loved one’s face light up when you give them the perfect gift.
Not to mention what it does to a child to learn that their parent/s have been lying to them for years, intentions aside.
A 9-year-old isn’t going to understand that you just wanted them to have a nice Christmas.
They’ll feel hurt and confused that this amazing person who they thought loved and cared for them isn’t real.
For those that do remember learning Santa wasn’t real:
Why put children in that situation in the first place?
Telling them Santa isn’t real doesn’t mean ruining the rest of Christmas.
It means teaching them about values like selflessness, thankfulness and generosity without the help of a lie.
Griffen Winget can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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