Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny: Harmless fun or harmful deception?

During the course of a relationship, we all discover surprising facts about our partners. Some are nice–they can brew a proper cup of coffee. Others are important: they are devout Catholic and feel strongly about baptizing their children.

And others are downright odd. Like this one I recently discovered about my husband: he has borderline obsessive ideas about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny–namely, that we shouldn’t raise K to believe in any of them because to do so would be to deceive her.

But they are harmless figures, I protest. They’re cute. They give children something in which to look forward to–fodder for daydreams.

His reply: We work hard for our money. Why shouldn’t K understand that we bought presents for her and that they didn’t come from an imaginary fat man?

Me: But how will she develop a creative mind?

Then I think (but don’t say aloud): Well, millions of children around the world lack a Santa Claus in their lives and become pretty fantastic writers, artists, and musicians.

Instead I say: What about all of the other children who believe in these things? She’ll be the only one who doesn’t. Won’t that be sad?

He answers: Why are you afraid of her being different?

Me: I’m not! (am I?)

We proceeded to argue for no less than an hour. I think of all of the TV programs that pop up around the holidays–Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Grinch Who Stole Christmas–and feel sad to think K won’t get any joy out of them because she’ll know they’re bogus.

But wait..she isn’t going to believe Dora is a real girl either and she’ll probably still love her when she’s five. And is this even important? Everything on television except for Mad Men is evil. What kind of lunatic makes decisions about what she tells her child based on quality TV programming?

I get his point about Santa Claus and the senseless commercialism surrounding Christmas. And even I, as much of a shoegrazer as I was at age 6, never believed in an 8 foot bunny rabbit that did..what, exactly? Hang around Macy’s to take pictures? Creep.

But the Tooth Fairy. Come on. What could be harmful about an angel that takes away your baby teeth in exchange for money?

My goodness, we are a nation of weird, aren’t we?


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