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Hey guys, this is just a quick reminder for all you hardcord skeptics and atheists out there worried about your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and random children you see at the mall: it’s ok to lie to kids about Christmas.
I know that some of you end up scarred and bitter about your parents having lied to you about Santa, but I assure you it’s not a big deal. Research shows that most kids turn out just fine after learning that Santa is all a big fraud. There’s also been a good deal of research into kids’ critical thinking skills, and the Santa Myth is a pretty good testing ground for them to work out their bullshit detectors.
Years ago, some psychologists told a bunch of children about the Candy Witch, a mythical being they made up for the purposes of science. The Candy Witch, they said, would take candy left under your pillow after Halloween and replace it with a small toy. For half the kids, they had the parents actually do the Candy Witch swap. For the other half, nothing. What they found was really interesting: little kids, maybe 4 years old, believed or disbelieved in the Candy Witch regardless of whether or not their parents played along. But for slightly older kids, like 5 or 6 years old, they were much more likely to believe in the Candy Witch if the parents played along.
This means that the older kids had learned to look for evidence. That’s a critical component of the bullshit detector, and they were putting it to good use. That’s why kids that age believe in Santa — not because they’re stupid or gullible but because they look for evidence and they get it! So much evidence! They hear songs about Santa. They see him in films. They get letters from him. They sit on his damn lap and ask him for a present and then they GET THAT VERY PRESENT.
That’s evidence. The only reason kids that age don’t catch on to the fact that Santa isn’t real is because they’re missing one crucial part of their bullshit detector: the understanding that people, even grownups, even grownups you trust deeply, are assholes who will lie to you.
By the time the kids are 7 or 8, they generally have that information and they use it. The Santa myth is a crucial time that provides a very important lesson for them. A lot of kids who learn that lesson go on to realize that adults are lying or just mistaken about a lot of things, like Jesus and psychics and sugar making you hyper. Kids who don’t learn the lesson? Well, Scientology has to get new recruits from somewhere.
So this holiday season, remember that it’s not only fun to lie to kids, but it’s also a critical learning experience. Merry Christmas everyone.