I was watching "The Polar Express" on Christmas Eve, which is the story of how a little boy goes from not believing in the existence of Santa, to believing. There are several movies and stories with the same plot line and I wonder why. Why is it important to make children believe there's a Santa Claus? It's such a blatant, almost cruel lie. No matter how hard a parent tries to make their child believe there really is a Santa Claus, there's no preventing the child's eventual maturity and realization that there really isn't.
Is it to make the child happy, believing in an unlimited source of toys and presents? Is it to enforce rules by evoking an entity who rewards good behavior? Is it practice so that the child will do well believing in God?
I think the ultimate disappointment that comes when a child learns that there is no actual Santa Claus isn't worth any of those motivations. And it is inevitable that every child will figure it out. There's only so long you can explain the multiple Santas at Christmastime, the impossibility of Santa's omniscience, the incredible accomplishment of hitting every domicile in the world at exactly midnight, local time.
Kids are gonna figure it out and when they do, it's gonna hurt. So why do parents bother? Just to be mean?