Sunday, December 23, 2007
Steamboat Springs The holiday season involves many traditions, from lighting the menorah to exchanging Christmas presents.
But some traditions do not make quite as much sense - like the purpose of the Christmas tree, or why we have neighborhood decoration competitions involving such disputes as "My light-up snowman is bigger than yours." Probably the most well-known and silliest tradition is the myth of Santa. This month, the Teen Style staff argued whether the tradition of Santa was a silly pastime or a worthy experience.
They started off by saying that they did not really comprehend the point of Santa.
"Why do parents make that up in the first place?" Paula Ninger, 15, asked, "I don't really get it."
As the conversation continued, ideas of why this fantasy man exists came out.
"I think Santa promotes worthy morals and beliefs," said Molly Parsons, 15. Haley O'Brien, 16, agreed.
"He doesn't expect anything in return, except kindness," she said.
The girls seemed to agree that Santa was created with good intentions, but what did they think about the results?
"I think it's kind of sad, because eventually (the kids) are going to find out he's not real, and it'll be a disappointment," Paula said.
Molly disagreed. "I wish Santa was real, for a giving person to give presents to everyone," she said, "In one sense, I think it gives children something to hope for."
The staffers were completely torn about whether the myth of Santa is beneficial or detrimental to the well-being and development of children. On one hand, it allows children to believe in something and use their creativity, but it also can be hard to find out that something you accept as true is in fact a lie.
"I think it depends when you find it out, if you find out when you're 10 or 11, it's a good time because you're (finding out) from friends," Haley said.
The group seemed to think that it also is a benefit for parents - to see and relive the innocence and naivete of childhood.
"I think as a parent, it'll be fun for children to believe in something (like Santa)," Molly said.
Eventually, the Teen Style staffers decided that Santa is a worthy experience despite the disappointment of discovering that it is a falsehood.
"I think it's fun for kids, just to have something to hope for," Paula said.
"I don't think it does any harm," Haley said. "The only limit for these kids is their imagination."