Newspaper Page Text
An Editorial in the Woman's Home Companion
a^KKY carnesl and sincere folk ;i??? sort- troubled al this season of the
?M year because '"the myth of Sania ("laus" persists, because sn many
^jf millions cling; "dully, stubbornly" i<> :? "worn-out, absurd lift ion."
The earnesl and sincere protagonists of truth are profoundly concern
etl because we are feeding our children lies!
It is a fine thing t<> stand up for Truth. To be sure philosophers, theologians,
ami a few others have been disputing aboul what Truth is for several thousand
years and il doesn't seem definitely In be settled yet. For mosl of ns Truth
is what we really and truly believe in. It is made up chiefly of faith, and yon
can't make nor break faith by argument.
Santa Clans isn't a fact, but a faith. The Companion is perfectly willing
to make declaration of faith.
There is a Santa Chins.
It is an interesting fael thai the philosophic writers who have made the
deepest impression in all the ages have not been those who were right, or who
had the greatest minds, bill those who were the most, uncompromisingly dog
matic, the most vigorously emphatic, those who stated mere opinions as incon
trovertible facts, and fought for thorn with all their might.
There is a Santa Clans.
We are perfectly willing to suffer the fate of martyrs, for our belief, and
some of our sincerest friends will assail us unmercifully. We have to stand by
our faith because we try to be just as honest as we know how.
THE SANTA CLAUS ''MYTH"
Il came about in this way. Letters came to us from the earnest and sincere
partizans of realism, urging us to take up the tight against "the Santa Clans
myth," and from perplexed mothers asking us what they should tell their chil
dren aboul Santa Clans. We had an editorial conference. Frankly we thought
and talked. We were philosophical, metaphysical, and practical by turns. Fin
ally one of US spoke out determinedly: "I don't care 1 believe in Santa Clans."
The cross-fire of debate ceased. We had been talking all around the subject.
The problem, which argument had made hopelessly complex, was clear as sun
light. It came upon us all. sudden, convincingly, that we. too, believed in Santa
Cialis, so we stopped debating, and smiled cheerfully and became quite com
fortable and human again.
When you know someone -and all of us do know someone, only we have to
stop and think sometimes to realize it?who lives up to the idea of Santa Chins,
you realize the absurdity of calling it a myth.
There is a Santa Clans.
You who are perplexed, and ever most of you who are intolerant of "myths"
believe in Santa Clans deep down in your heart. If you don't, living must be
sorry business for you, at this time particularly.
IT /,S' WHAT YOU BELIEVE
Can't you see the real problem is not so much what you shall tell your chil
dren, as what you believe yourself? Don't you understand that the dispute
about Saida Claus really revolves around names, and not "the thing in itself."
as Mr. Kant would say? And don't you realize that names arc mere marks of
identification when they tire not symbols, invented for convenience?
The sincere folk who have taken arms against Santa Claus, as if any arms
stive those which encompass in tenderness and sympathy could move him, are
(ighling the symbol. They are ever ready to get out a tape and a foot rule,
measure Santa Clans and the chimney, and triumphantly demonstrate that he
is a mathematical impossibility. Of course, when you attempt to measure a myth
with a foot rule, you must expect any kind of a result.
We who believe in Santa Clans never thought of using a foot rule. We
don't know if his face be ruddy, and crinkled with smiles, if he la; round of
bnrrel and white of heard, if he wears it red coat and drives magic reindeer
with a diadem of silver horns. We never saw Santa ('laus; neither have we seen
the Ruler of All the Worlds, yet we believe. We use a heart rule?"Faith is the
substance of things hoped for."
WE MUST SEE TO ACCEPT
We are willing to accept the physical attributes bestowed by verse-makers
and romancers upon Santa Clans. Wo never can accept anything as real until
we visualize il, and most of us must have some actual thing to look upon, a paint
ing, a sculpture?something tangible. Do you think that, when the time comes
to look upon ITim who gave us Christmas, you will see the face of infinite sor
row that comes before your mind now? The old masters have Listened upon us
ideals of the physical attributes of the Christ that will last through all the ages.
If you stop to think about if. you will realize thai Santa Clause is tin ob
jective expression of a part of the infinite Christ spirit, maybe the most hn
portanl pari, because it was lie who first broilglll into the religions of men the
glory of love, of blessed sei I-sacrifice, the wonderful joy of living. He believed
in laughter, in happiness, for above all He loved little children. Maybe it wafl
lb' who placed Santa ("bins in the hearts of little children,
they miisi have a svmhnl Ibev could readily understand,
because He knew
WHAT VOr SHALL TELL THE CHI LDH ES
.Make sure, if you can. what Santa ('laus really is. whal the mosl familiar
symbol in all the world stands for. ami make it as plain as you can. Make the
story of Santa ('laus a parable, not a fairy tale. Embroider it with all the droll
notions, all the delicate fancies of your imagination, that will help to fix the
real idea of Santa ('laus? in their mind. Tell them that nobody ever really saw
Santa Claus, although ever so many people think they have, and everybody hopes
to see him some day. They think he lives somewhere in the great frozen North,
because his soul is so pure and while. And because he wauls children to live
in the open air. to be strong and well, they think be must live so. ami that is why
be is so ruddy of face and sturdy of body. Anyone who has lived so long as
he must have silver hair and a snowy beard. Of course, if he lives in the North,
he must use a sleigh ami reindeer to travel, because that would be the mosl con
venionl way. But people just imagine these things, for nobody knows for really
and truly sure.
Lul everybody knows he thinks mosl of the little children; and whal ho
wants above all is to make thoin happy. He doesn't want anybody ever to see
him, because he thinks they might want to thank him. The very linest way of
giving is without wanting to have anybody thank you, and the very nicest way
of receiving is to be so thankful and glad in your heart that everybody around
you w ill know il if you say never a word. What Santa ('bins wants most of all
is to make other people give as be gives, because he can't possibly go to all the
children everywhere; and after they have grown up a little, they must do the giv
ing for him. So everybody ought to become a kind of Santa Clans after a while.
But it is very hard to be as kindly, as good as the real Santa Clans.
WHEN THE UNREAL is REAL
You can tell the story ever so much better than that, because you will have
before .von the inspiration of the deep, unfathomable eyes, the parted kiss-in
viting lips, and the mind that is so profoundly, so preciously wise in real things,
so ignorant in little ones. And while they are asking over and over again why
they can't sei- Santa Claus, they understand far better than you bow utterly im
possible it would be, because il would destroy all the delight I'ul mystery. They
know the grotesque figure that passes the gifts from the Christmas tret; is not
the real Santa Clans just as well as they know that dolls and tin soldiers are not.
real people. Ob, about coming down the chimney! Nobody knows for certain,
because nobody ever saw him, you remember. They just suppose thai is the way
he comes into the house. You know how ever so many things gel into your head
and heart, and you don't know how. They are just there. And you know some
of them are so big._you feel you just can't hold them. There are lots of things
in this world one can't explain. They jnst are.
When the time comes for the children to learn from more ignorant play
males that "There isn't any Santa Clans." and that the letters addressed to
"Derc Santy" went only to Father and Mother, they need not lace the black
despair of unbelief that comes from illusions destroyed. You see. father ami
Mother had been found worthy of taking over a part of Santa Claus's work, and
they are very glad that Big Brother and Big Sister have found out about it.
because now they can do a little of ' it work too. But I hey must bo very careful
to give in the spirit of Santa Clans.
There is a Santa ('laus.
WHAT CAN YOCOFFER IN EXCHANGE?
Have you a better symbol than Santa Clans to otter your children.' For
even if you are very advanced, not to say scientific, you realize that symbols are
more necessary to children than to grown people. Maybe you feel thai there can
be no compromising with Truth. Then let us consider some little truths which
are not the same at Truth, because anyone can put many little truths together
in such a way as to make a big Untruth. You know that children believe that
Father is the biggest, strongest, wisest man in all the world, and that Mother
is the sweetest, lovingest. best est woman. Yon know it isn't true, but you don't
try to undeceive them. You cherish your children's belief in you. and you say
that, please God, by day and by night, in sunshine and in stress, you will try
to be worthy of tlmt belied".
Oh, misguided stickler for Truth, don't you realize that you can'I keep Santa
Claus from the children? He belongs to them, by the divine right of childhood.
in the Great Scheme of Things, and as long as children gladden the earth, as
long as we can keep in our own hearts something of the pure child spirit, if
must be so. But if you can't believe now. the lime will come; when old age
approaches like a snowstorm, turning your hair to silver ami making your blood
run cold ami thin in your veins, Iben you will know to the utlermosl part of
your being, if there be children about you:
There is a Santa ('laus.