Santa is a MMORPG
The first time the Knox County Gay-Straight Alliance was approved to march in Mount Vernon’s traditional holiday parade, the one where red and green dressed Rotarians and farmers toss candy to the children lining the streets (and their parents let them pick it up from the muddy pavement), we asked the parade organizers: What is the dress code? We just wanted to fit in, to avoid upsetting anyone (aside from our one three-letter word). We were told: There is just one rule–don’t dress as Santa Claus. It would confuse the children.
Out of all the children-confusing stories in our town — “There were dinosaurs on the Ark” — “The schools need no money” — “The therapist will turn you straight” — Santa is the one that the media rush to defend. Psychiatrists who spend most of the year advising parents to level with their kids take vacation to urge the opposite. “Let go of any guilt you have about duping your kids. Santa belongs in the “good lie” pile because parents invoke him for their kids’ sake.” Um, is there any other kind of lie parents admit to telling?
Occasionally a contrarian story comes out, but such is generally brushed aside as Scrooge. No one wants to hear that a child discovering “the truth” behind Santa might lose their trust in other “truths” about God and love. But is the Santa myth really that different from other convenient American myths–that there will always be enough food and energy? That fracking in Ohio will bring unlimited gas to the pump? That we can vote down all the taxes and still have Medicare?
Why not tell children the truth–the real truth: Santa is a MMORPG. Santa is the ultimate world-wide role-playing game, played by parents, NORAD trackers and parade-marchers alike. We all play the game of giving and receiving. And the Santa story–like schools and Medicare–actually requires a lot of hard work by a lot of real people.
Doesn’t that make it even more fun? What provides more unending hours of fun–a MMORPG, or a single player game where you’re not the player?
We told our children Santa was a game, along with Noah’s ark. Noah’s ark was actually their favorite game, with all those animals to save. Today the seas are rising, with animals ever more at risk. And Santa still needs helpers, more than ever, especially at the schools and hospitals.
We told the truth–and when our sons hit on hard times, I said, “You can trust me–I never lied about Santa.” How many parents can say the same.