Thanksgiving is over, and Santa is about.
We tend to be very realist; I have never been able to tell my kids with a straight face that Santa or the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny exists, even in fun. We celebrate St. Nicholas’ feast day with great devotion and excitement. The CCC St. Nicholas movie is our second favorite saint movie of all (his quote “Even if I’m the only Christian left, I will always love you” makes me cry every time and the kids crack up). And we tell the kids that people like to imagine that St. Nicholas also helps us celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas Day, hence the Santa Claus tradition.
With Santa, of course I worry that if we get them believing in all sorts of fantasies that they later discover to be false, they may pull back in their commitment of faith to the other unseen things that ARE real.
But isn’t there some educational philosophy out there that encourages playing with and even believing in fairies and fairy tales in order to increase a child’s capacity to grasp the reality of heaven and the cosmic narrative of Christianity? I have been curious about that for a while but not understood it. Probably because imagination isn’t really my gift. But also I can’t understand teaching children to believe in pretend things.