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Whatever you believe in, or don’t, Ash Imani implores you to let your kids be just that, kids, and have a little bit of Santa Claus in their lives this Christmas and every Christmas until they decide otherwise…
There’s a certain childhood joy in returning to school from the Christmas holidays and excitedly telling your schoolmates what Santa Claus brought you for Christmas…or so I hear.
I was one of those kids who never got Christmas presents.
We worshipped a different magical being.
Every year I begged Mum to buy me something so I didn’t feel like the only loser Santa Claus skipped on Christmas Eve. Every year Mum would assure me that if I just told the kids “we don’t celebrate Christmas” they would understand and let me join in all their reindeer games.
Somehow the incontestable logic of this reasoning never translated from the comfort of home into the school yard war-zone. Despite Mum’s best intentions, the kids didn’t really revel in the beauty of cultural diversity. Being different might be a cause for celebration as an adult but it isn’t quite the stuff of childhood dreams. All a kid wants to do is belong. Rudolph would have been torn to shreds for his red nose if he went to my school.
And so I had my first taste of “otherness” and it sucked. I started making up the presents that Santa brought me. As my lies became more and more obvious, I eventually settled on telling my mates, “I just got money this Christmas”. Not enough to raise your status in the playground food chain, but enough to keep feeling like I belonged.
So parents, if you have the means, buy your kids something this Christmas, for (whichever) God’s sake, whether you believe in it or not. There’ll be plenty of time for them to grow up and realise what a complete sham the marketing ploy of Christmas is. There’ll be plenty of time for them to ponder the mystery of our existence and come to their own conclusions about the nature of reality and what to believe in.
But there’s only a short amount of time before “being different” starts to shape their identities… and that’s not something even Santa Claus can fix.