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How Should the Little Ones Learn of #Santa's Dirty Secret?

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He was eight, maybe nine, when he first heard a rustling coming from the room with the tree. It sounded, he thought, like a little button-eyed mouse nestling through dry leaves, in search of Christmassy treats, crumbs of crackers and cheese. The occasional snap, crackle, and pop were to be expected on nights such as this. A heavily pregnant Christmas Eve waited to give birth to her gifts. Midnight is a dangerous time for any little girl or boy to find themselves wandering from sleep. Whether popping to the loo or sneaking out for a peek at Saint Nick, innocence and curiosity are veils too thin to disguise the truth from its wearer. Daniel Swann may have shared these simple motives, either way, what he discovered changed him forever.

Mother; Father; Wrapping; Laughing; Sellotape; Crumbs; Presents; Mince pies: eaten; milk, spilt? Santa!

Where? Father Christmas, Father? Father…Christmas. Mum?

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Oh.

“That was it. Christmas had gone”
                                                    – Daniel Swann

This was just another tragic tale of one child’s loss of innocence, or more fittingly, loss of faith…
There is a time, as children, when our curiosity becomes feverish and cat-like. Hungry and hollow, our abiding minds follow our gaping curiosity and open up to swallow as much knowledge and nature as they possibly can (think python/baby hippo). It is at this point our minds become so widely open, so porous that the magic can’t help but slip out drop by drip.

Now this, I think, is a reasonably slow and subtle process; our lenses shift seamlessly from the cinematic to the cynical. This is why it is so difficult to pinpoint exactly when it was one’s self changed so drastically. However, there are a murder of moments that define this era of change: Standalone snapshots to be scarcely revisited; dark days that seem to steal an entire colour from our sight. Discovering that Santa is a puppet and your parents are the ones wearing him like a glove and pulling his strings certainly qualifies as one of those moments.

I think what is truly lost when we’re informed of Santa’s non-existence is often mistaken for “The Magic” or “Spirit” of Christmas. I believe that what it is most children suffer in this time of grief is the loss of faith; Not a loss of faith in the mystical, but in their parents.  

Children aren’t stupid; in fact I’d say they’re very clever, and intuitive. And so, when they’re told by their most loved and trusted companions that a man whose very nature defies existence does, in fact, exist and will visit them once a year, their faith is pitted against their reason.

Faith: The concept of a trust-based belief in someone or something that cannot (yet), and is not required to, be proven logically or empirically. Faith is one of the earliest and most formative bonds between adults and children. A child learns to use reason to figure out the world, but, preceding this, is programmed to apply faith to acquire knowledge, a faith that is gradually lost due to Santa-esque revelations.

Before continuing, I want to acknowledge the hypocrisy of this article as it will go on to suggest that the acquisition of knowledge is not, necessarily, innately good at all times, whilst at the same time creating a space for this information to be found. It goes without saying, Christmas Eve on the Social Songbird site is not when and where your child should discover that the existence of the Jolly bearded one is purely metaphysical.

Reading this back, it does seem a tad over dramatic and, more importantly, lacking a link to social media, so here we go. Simply put: Social media offers our youth a whole new platform of discovery. This increasingly depletes the guidance parents are able to offer their children, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects. In conclusion, this debate is far too complicated to be solved in this space, maybe children should be free to learn as much as their questions can summon; maybe they shouldn’t. But if you’re looking to simply stop the little ones stumbling upon Christmas spoilers, hidemyass have the perfect tool for you: a chrome extension that blocks all revelatory Santa facts to keep their Christmas intact. 


Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF

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How Should the Little Ones Learn of #Santa's Dirty Secret? Reviewed by Leo Donnelly on Thursday, December 24, 2015 Rating: 5

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