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Don’t stop believing in jolly old Santa Claus

Register • Dec 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Kids don’t seem as excited by Santa as they used to be, and it’s not hard to figure why.

There are lots of reasons.

Kids today are far more sophisticated and aware than they were years ago. Most kids over the age of 3 already know the truth about Santa.

Heck, 10-year-olds routinely talk about things that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap when I was 16. Eightyear-olds talk about Miley Cyrus’ latest videos and wear makeup.

And we’re supposed to believe that a 4- or 5-year-old believes in Santa with her or his whole heart?

Even if they’re sheltered from the sleaze to which kids are exposed daily, it’s hard to believe in Santa when he’s in stores, on billboards, in TV commercials and plastered on a thousand other products, from booze to negligees, beginning shortly before Halloween and lasting at least into mid-January.

Santa, who is supposed to deliver toys to kids who’ve been good, spends his free time hawking electric razors, lottery tickets, hunting rifles and plenty of other goods that no child would expect in his stocking.

Many of today’s Santa suits are so poorly constructed that even a youngster eagerly awaiting a turn on Santa’s lap can see it’s just a costume. The scraggly beard hangs low and off the face, the suit sags where Santa’s supposed to be his plumpest and the only rosy cheeks and cherry-red nose you’ll see is if the guy playing the big elf has been imbibing on his break.

But still we carry on the tradition of trying to deceive our kids into believing that some fat guy at the North Pole delivers presents to them and all good children all across the world. And our kids do their best to deceive us that they believe what we’re selling. After all, they don’t want the flow of Christmas presents to stop.

I remember when I was 11 or 12. I made the mistake of confirming to my younger sister (who’d already figured it out) that Santa was really mom and dad. She in turn advised them that I told her there was no Santa. So Christmas morning came and my sister had all kinds of presents and I had a cheap, plastic toy car. My parents explained to her that I didn’t get any presents because I’d lied about Santa. My sister took the hint and “believed” in Santa for another six or seven years.

I know some little ones still believe, and I’m happy for them and hope their parents can find a reasonable facsimile of what Santa is supposed to look like so their illusions won’t be shattered.

What I want to know is if anyone still tries to get their kids to believe in the tooth fairy or, especially, the Easter bunny.

The tooth fairy is another fake figure that your kids, if they’re smart, will never admit disbelieving in. Once they do, the money under the pillow stops.

But the Easter bunny? I don’t think any kid really buys that one. I didn’t, until one day I saw a rabbit in our backyard on Easter morning. It was right where my dad had hidden some colored eggs a short while before. I went out to investigate, watched the rabbit hop away and found the eggs right where it had been. After that, no one could convince me that there wasn’t an Easter bunny!

You don’t hear about the cotton-tailed critter much anymore, unless he’s in some animated flick starring Santa, Jack Frost and other favorites in a kick-butt action adventure where our heroes are transformed into loveable versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone.

I wonder if parents today try to get their kids to believe in the Easter bunny. I wonder if any kids really do.

I know one thing. If they’re smart and want their Easter candy, they’ll pretend they do.

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