After a bit of ad- libbing on The Project from comedian Kitty Flanagan, thousands of enraged parents have taken to twitter to demand that she apologise for being an honest, trustworthy human being. Here’s the offending clip:
MAYDAY! MAYDAY! ABORT! ABORT! CHRISTMAS IS RUINED!
The cat’s out of the bag. How are we going to convince our children to behave if they don’t believe that creepy old stalker isn’t watching them around the clock?
Here’s a novel idea… how about we STOP FUCKING LYING TO OUR KIDS?
Because if Santa is reduced to just a legend like, say the Grimm fairy tales have been in this day and age, none of this is a problem.
Parents, those of you who have young kids may be under the illusion that you can keep this convenient Santa story going forever. Newsflash: you can’t. Kids are often more intuitive than we give them credit, they do figure out that you lied sooner rather than later.
And let’s not pretend that there’s no benefit for you to keep the ‘magic’ alive for as long as possible. No I’m not going to make any more cracks about lazy parenting – heck I’m not Mark Latham – but I think it’s a bit rich that mums and dads are getting their panties in a knot in the name of maintaining innocence when they should be calling it maintaining the ability to be manipulated.
“Mac, seriously you need to chill out. I don’t appreciate being called a bad parent because I’m just trying to make Christmas fun for my kids!”
Hey now, when did I call you a bad parent? I called you a liar, sure. Because you did.
I don’t doubt that all these parents have the best of intentions but I think that all too often we avoid thinking about the possibility of a tradition perpetuating terrible life lessons because, well, TRADITION.
My parents certainly never meant for our personal Santa palava to go as far as it did, and in the end I don’t think the heartache – yes, heartache – for me was worth it.
So, like most children on the spectrum I was on the naive side. The Santa facade went on way longer than in the average family, until I was ten, nearly eleven years old. The other kids at school had long cottoned on and teased me mercilessly but I just laughed them off. I pitied them and their fickle, easily swayed nature. After all, how dreadful must their parents be if they could believe that they’d lie to them so maliciously? My mother would never do such a thing.
But eventually, despite my willingness to believe, the words of my classmates, every single one, started to get to me. My sister, two years younger started to disbelieve as well which well and truly planted a seed of doubt in my mind. I plaintively asked my mother a couple of times and she encouraged me to keep believing. Looking back, I realise that she sensed the inevitable meltdown and needed time to mentally prepare for it.
The tipping point came when I was rummaging through my mother’s wardrobe for hidden chocolates when I happened across a bag of wrapped presents, tagged for my sisters and I from Santa. My stomach knotted as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing. Presents are kept at the north pole. How could they be there, and in mum’s wardrobe at the same time?
My heart raced as I scrambled to find my mother. When I told her what I found she went deathly white, and I pleaded with her to give a plausible explanation. I don’t remember what she said except that she made it clear that the illusion had to end then and there.
I was distraught.
As I raced into my room and threw myself onto my bed in floods of tears, Mum followed me and assured me that we could still make Christmas magical. And she was right. We did everything we usually did. We exchanged gifts. I had fun picking out something for my family members that they would enjoy. Mum took us shopping to pick toys to donate to less fortunate children. We went to church with Nana to sing carols and make christingles. We had our extended family over and ate more food than was good for us.
I learned that Santa was completely unnecessary for what Christmas is about. Appreciating family. Enjoying giving to others. Celebrating the birth of Christ. If I have children they will be celebrating all these aspects of Christmas with me but they will not be lied to.
Because what else did I learn from the Santa experience? My parents don’t always have the best intentions. Sometimes they just enjoy fucking with me for their own amusement. I learnt that this so called maintaining innocence is not a wonderful thing after all. It allows you to be taken advantage of. If my parents are so invested trying to keep me innocent, who knows what else they are trying to pull!
Standing firm in what you believe in used to be an admirable quality in my mind. In this situation it lead to humiliation. Now I get insecure over opinions that a lot of people disagree with, which is a problem because this applies to pretty much all social justice concepts. I’m afraid to stand up for myself, or others, because I’m terrified of the possibility of being wrong!
Just…don’t fuck with your kids, ok? There is no need. None.
So please stop blaming Kitty Flanagan for ripping off this unnecessarily placed bandaid that was slowing peeling off anyway.
Or you are so going on my naughty list.