Saturday, January 16th, 2021

Santa Claus: The Ultimate in ‘Fake News’ (a.k.a. What The #$*! Are We Celebrating?)

Published on December 25, 2016 by   ·   No Comments


 Ethan Indigo Smith/Wake Up World

“We are going to have a white Christmas this year, with three inches expected by morning! The storm however won’t be slowing down Santa Claus, kids. In fact the snow just makes it easier for his flying reindeer to land and take off, from what I understand. I just got off the phone with NORAD and we’re tracking Santa right now. Their up to the minute tracking information concludes he’s making good time despite the headwinds and should be in our region by two or three o’clock this morning. We’ll keep you posted on his whereabouts on the evening news… and now back to you, Chuck.” 

The first four or five years of our lives are the most formative years of our lives. Our minds are like dry sponges, absorbing everything around us. In our most impressionable state, we learn from our parents, friends, family, teachers, neighbors, and everyone we interact with, as well as media, conventions, traditions and institutions of all sorts. We learn what we’re taught, but we also pick up on queues and absorb lessons from our experiences and observations, both subtle and obvious, direct and indirect, as we learn to navigate and interpret the world around us.

Incidentally, these are the very same years most children in Christian-based societies are influenced by, even infatuated with, the Santa Clause myth – a common sociological influence we share.

As children the Santa story seems magical, replete with elves, flying reindeer, a benevolent (yet judgmental) patriarch and shiny new gifts. Then, as we grow older, comes the letdown. The truth is revealed as our common initiation – our first taste of ‘adult’ society.

When the truth is revealed it can all seem like a cruel celebration to a sensitive young mind. With the magic of our early childhood taken from our Christmas, we learn in that moment that everyone, from parents and teachers to news presenters and institutions of all kinds are capable of lying to our faces, straight up, with a smile, in perfect unspoken coordination. We learn that there is not enough magic in the real world, and that our sense of wonder can only be satisfied by artificially constructed mythology, and remains the domain of early childhood unknowing. Not only that, we learn that once such a societal lie is realized, our role as “grownups” is to maintain the lie as truth, in this case, because everyone else of a vaguely Christian heritage does it. (Never mind the children of other faiths.)

For children who have just learned or realized the truth, the lie is everywhere we look at Christmas time. It’s at home, in schools, on the news; even the local weather forecasters cooperate with powerful military institutions like NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) lie to us! And we play along without a moment to process our loss, lest we poop the party for younger, still-ignorant children. (Never mind that ours is the only culture on Earth to base its major holy-day on a foundation of pure fictional fabrication, forgoing reality to celebrate the bounty of a deliberately false patriarch.)

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