How do you feel about the C-word? Christmas, I mean. I know, I know, we're not supposed to utter the word anymore. It's not like we're a church-going family. My son wasn't even baptized. Still, I've always loved the rituals associated with the season. The hall decking. The carols. The sticky-sweet smell of baked goods. 

Growing up, my cousin and I marked the 25th day of December with nothing short of religious fervour. For weeks we consulted. We strategized. We poured ourselves into elaborate crafts beyond the requisite milk and cookies, in anticipation for the portly bearded guy. 

I had such overarching faith in the existence of Saint Nick, of the Easter Bunny. I forget exactly how or when my proverbial bubble was burst. Suffice to say, it was DEVASTATING. The betrayal! The lies! It had all the markings of a Mike Leigh movie. 

It was a dark, dark day when I learned the truth about Santa, et al. Who was I supposed to trust now? Who was I supposed to believe, now that the people nearest and dearest to me had lied to my face for years? It felt like a conspiracy of JFK proportions. 

Now, as a parent in my own right, I question whether it is right to perpetuate such myths and fables, whether it's fair to consciously deceive my son only to later yank the wool from over his eyes. 

Belief is ultimately what gives us hope. Why else would we sit through countless dire rom coms? And belief in the existence of some pure and magical force is arguably the most precious aspect of childhood. Rue the day when we must 'put away childish things' and accept that unicorns and fairies don't actually exist—well, with the possible exception of the Pride parade, that is.  

Are little white lies—like the one about the man in the red jumpsuit—a harmful or healthy part of growing up?

Do you perpetuate the myth with your own children? Why/why not?

 

Image credit: Flickr Kevin Dooley