The Santa Claus Lie

On the morally suspect task of lying about Santa.

Parents should stop lying to children about Santa Claus. There is no justification for lying to children about a man who lives in the North Pole and who will bring them presents on Christmas Day – presents made by elves and delivered with the help of a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, if you go with the full lie. The time, energy, and creativity that goes into supporting the Santa Clause lie should be redirected to helping very real, but less fortunate, children, adults, and animals over the Christmas holidays.

There are various arguments that attempt to justify the Santa Claus lie, but all of them fail. One argument is that lying about Santa Claus adds a magical element to Christmas. If parents did not lie about Santa Claus, Christmas would fail to be a magical time for children. I do not see why this last claim is true. Children seem to enjoy their birthday parties, and look forward to them, and look forward to getting birthday presents, without the need for a lie about a

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation

Nicole Braden-Johnson 21 December 2018

1) One can do charitable things around Christmas and still do the Santa thing.
2) Most parents do the Santa thing because they themselves have fun memories about it, and want to share that with their kids.
3) "Lying" is one way of interpreting it. The other is that kids will understand that Santa is a game of pretend that simply went on longer than most games. Kids play pretend all the time. They know it's not mean or a reason never to believe the "pretender" again.

By your logic I shouldn't pretend to be a dinosaur and chase my child (squealing in delight) around the house, even if that's his current most favorite thing to do.