In “Lie“, there is the issue of the reactions of a child to the first appreciated lie of one’s parents. In “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town“, Lorne Anderson commented, in part, as follows, from a piece he wrote twenty-three years ago:
I believed in Santa Claus (as well as the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy). Maybe I was just a gullible child, but that’s not the way I remember it. My parents told me it was wrong to lie. They clearly delineated between true stories and fiction. Therefore, if they said there was a Santa Claus then there must be such a person, no matter how improbable or unlikely the story was.
As an adult I realized how upset I had been when I discovered I had been lied to. I don’t want to put my children through that. But I’m not going to deny our cultural heritage, which includes the fat man on the sleigh with the eight reindeer (nine if you count that recent red-nosed addition). It’s a nice story and adds a little extra to the season (not that anything extra is really needed).
I know that there was a person names St. Nicholas, on whom the Santa Claus myth is based. I have no problem telling my son that, though this year he is too young to understand. But he has to know the difference between truth and fiction, between fantasy and reality.
That way, when I tell him something important that sounds incredible, like what actually happened that first Christmas, he’ll know he can trust and believe me.