WARNING: Spoiler Alert!!!!
by Sherone Rogers
Last week the television show “What Would You Do?” focused partly on Santa: Is Santa black or white? Is Santa allowed to get drunk in public? The scenarios presented (along with my own life) made me think.
The first situation presented two child actors (one white, one ethnic) in a diner in Hazlet, NJ. When the ethnic girl spots a black Santa at another table, she gets excited and points him out. The other girl is quick to tell her that he is not Santa because “Santa is white.” The first child’s spirits are not dampened because she believes, but the second girl is not convinced. Time and again, other diners tell the girls things like, “Santa can be anywhere at any time, so he can be any color,” and “Santa is there for people all over the world, so he speaks every language and is every color.” One says, “Christmas is about believing.” No matter what they say, the adults on the hidden-camera show are careful not to say “Santa does not exist.” People generally feel that is a cruel thing to do to a child.
In another segment of the show, Santa is knocking back shots at the bar of a restaurant when a woman and a little girl come in to pick up food. Once again, the other adults in the room become very protective, some telling the little girl that Santa is “very tired” and Santa himself telling her that he is drinking “Elf Juice.” Each time host John Quinones comes out and reveals the fact that these situations are ruses, the unsuspecting adults are visually relieved. One woman actually teared up.
In my mind, I juxtaposed this episode of “What Would You Do?” with scenes from real life: I know someone whose pastor recently told parents during his sermon that, in an effort to keep Christ in Christmas, they should stop telling their kids there was a Santa. “There is no Santa Claus!” he exclaimed. As you can probably imagine, children throughout the church were aghast. (So were some of their parents, I imagine).
On another note, due to unforeseen circumstances, a friend is unable to get her daughter Christmas gifts this year. My girlfriend said to me, “Label one of our presents from us. Say the others are from Santa; I don’t want her to think Santa forgot her.” While this was undoubtedly very thoughtful, I couldn’t help but think, “Isn’t the main thing that she has presents?” Does she really care if they’re from ‘Santa’?”
I suppose I’m the wrong person to ask; I’ve been called a Grinch for most of my life and have never believed in Santa Claus. I was a very logical (and, perhaps, overly-precocious) child and assumed I wasn’t alone. At three, I unwittingly spoiled my five-year-old aunt’s Christmas.
“Of course, there’s no Santa; it makes no sense,” I’d told her matter-of-factly.
“Yes, there is,” she’d said.
Needless to say, I went on to systematically burst her Santa bubble and had no idea I’d done anything wrong until she started to cry. She still hasn’t let me forget it.
I hadn’t meant any harm—it just didn’t make any sense to me.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has burst the Santa bubble: an article was posted on Facebook suggesting that it is unhealthy to have our children believe in a lie, simply to have their hopes dashed later. I don’t know. Perhaps, like the Grinch, I am coming to see that a little belief is okay.
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.