Posted byat 29th December, 2010
*Featured in “Best Opinion” in The Week.com , Best of US and International Media
This post first appeared on my blog ReelGirl which rates kids’ media and products on girl empowerment
What do you tell your media saturated kids when they ask you if Santa is real?
I tell them how Santa can fold his body up, like a magical yogi, to wiggle down our chimney. I tell them which reindeer are the fastest, smartest, or strongest; what they all like to eat (cold, baby carrots and chocolate coins.)
In my stories, there are also girl reindeer, and Mrs. Claus is Sara, an artist who is famous throughout the North Pole for her animal portraiture.
My kids look adorable sucking it all up, mouths open, eyes wide, round cheeks; their faces are all circles. But while they are looking at me, mesmerized, asking a million more questions, sometimes I wonder about telling them such elaborate lies. What’s going to happen when they figure me out? How old they will be? Will they feel sad? Disillusioned? Will they ever take me seriously again?
I didn’t grow up believing any of this stuff so I don’t know. Probably, making it all up isn’t a big deal. Or maybe it is. Now I think, possibly, all these childhood myths serve a brilliant purpose: a gentle way for kids to learn well-intended parents are not always reliable sources of truth.