Why Lie About Santa?


December 17th, 2013
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(The opening logo is shown, before we see NC in his room)

NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. [Long beat] Why do we lie about Santa Claus? [Suddenly, several children are heard screaming and crying, stunning NC] Oh, come on! What are you doing watching my show? You're way too young to be watching my show! Oh, for God's sakes! I didn't mean to! That's the kind of stuff we say on this show! You're not supposed to be watching it! [Sighs] Let's just get going before I ruin the Easter Bunny for them, too.

[Children are heard screaming and crying again. NC realizes what he just said and puts his hands on his head in annoyance. Various clips heavily featuring Santa Claus in any film, TV or various other stuff, are shown]

NC (vo): I mean, when you get down to it, it is such a strange idea. All the parents, as well as pretty much all the world, lies about the existence of this fictional character, and there's no given time that kids are supposed to be told. They either sort of figure it out on their own, or their parents tell them when they think they're ready. I mean, the idea is charming that a magical character can be in your house, leaving you gifts, but doesn't it inevitably have to meet with the jarring truth? [A photo of a kid crying is shown] Don't a lot of kids have to go through heartbreak and sadness when they're told there is no Santa Claus? Okay, most kids take it okay, but there's definitely some that are just destroyed by that fact. The idea of finding out that there's no Santa for some kids is like finding out there's no God. It's pretty heavy stuff to have sink in.

NC: So, why do we do it?

NC (vo): Why do we lie to their faces when at one point we have to acknowledge that we lied to their faces? Well, there's a couple different ways of looking at it. First off, for the kids who get older and figure it out for themselves, they often want to save face and not feel like they've been taken advantage of, so they try not to let it bother them as much. And to be fair, with age, it probably doesn't bother them that much. If they're old enough to figure out the reality, they're usually old enough not to let it emotionally cripple them. But what about the kids who don't figure it out? Well, many are told that they can now partake in a new kind of magic, the kind of magic that involves keeping the illusion alive for other kids, because, hey, magic is an illusion. And it's unlikely you were heartbroken when you found out how they sawed a woman in half. If anything, you respected the illusion even more. Santa can kind of be the same way, especially if you have younger siblings. Suddenly, you can be the one creating the fantasy and putting on the show. You can be the one creating and sharing the stories. And if not with your siblings, with any other kids you come across. You now have the ability to no longer be the audience member, but rather the weaver of the illusion itself. You can create, as opposed to witness, and that's a great feeling for anyone. But that still doesn't answer the question of why. Why do we continue to lie about it? Recently, it hit me why the illusion of Santa is not only a good thing, but actually, an important thing. Really think about all the surprises life has thrown at you. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, you have all the answers, a bit of truth you've never expected falls into your lap and changes everything. As many of us have noticed, change is hard, and there's been far too many times we come across a situation that fools us. A person who did something we thought we could never do, or a mindset you've held for years now has to be totally different in light of something that's occurred in your environment. Everybody has to go through these rough times at some point in their life. When someone's perception of reality is suddenly destroyed, everything becomes uncertain. What else was I wrong about? What other surprises could be around the corner that could make me look foolish? What should I now question and be afraid of? The Santa lie, if you think about it, is our first way of dealing with that. It's a way of saying, "Yes, this wasn't what you thought it was, but it's alright. The world didn't blow up, you still have so many things to be thankful for, and Christmas somehow is still just as wonderful as it was before." In fact, the discovery of the illusion and your chance to now partake in it might even make Christmas a little better for you. The Santa lie is a way of adapting and accepting, a way to see that if something you thought was true was suddenly false, you can find out that not only can you choose not to be damaged by it, but you can actually grow stronger from it. You can use your knowledge of truth to help spread happiness, and do so knowing that those who you're charming with the illusion will one day grow up to do the same. In a world that teaches us it's not good to lie, this is an example of not only a lie that works, but works because it has to be broken. At one point, the children have to know the truth. The majority of adults in the world know the truth about Santa Claus, and discovering it, there was no wars or bloodshed, although that would be hilarious.

[A picture of a battle is shown, with the caption, "He's real, dammit!"]

NC (vo): And it shows at our core that we at least have the seeds of wanting to adapt and wanting to understand and make ourselves stronger. To take the harsh truth, find the positive side to it and turn it into something wonderful, all by simply looking at it from a different point of view. It's an acknowledgement that we can handle the truth and if we're simply smart enough to find the correct way of looking at it. And what can start off to be terrible and hurtful can actually turn out to be something even greater than you even imagined it could be, and for totally different reasons.

NC: So, go ahead. Lie to your kids, make up stories.

NC (vo): Tell tall-tales, say you saw Santa in your living room or whatever. It's not building them up for a big letdown, it's allowing them to realize how good it can be to feel to believe in something, and that the revelation of the truth doesn't necessarily destroy it. It can actually make it stronger, because there's so many details you can play with and so many stories you can add and so many things you can change. All these create your own unique fantasy and giving your child their own unique fantasy, one that will result in a memory that is distinctly theirs and no one else's. It's one of those rare lies where the discovery of the fact only seems to make it last longer and make us love it even more.

[An image of Santa meeting two kids is shown, before cutting back to NC, who is smiling]

NC: And while we're at it, the Tooth Fairy isn't real either. [Several children are heard crying and screaming, but NC continues smiling] I'm the Nostalgia Critic, and clearly, your parents need to watch you closer.

[He walks off as children continue screaming and crying. The credits roll]

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