By Marah Morrison
The story of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named Saint Nicholas. As the legend has it, Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. He was admired for his devotion and kindness, so he became the subject of many legends.
Some people think it’s okay for their children to believe in legends like Santa Clause, while others simply say, “tell them the truth.”
Monica Bone, an English major at Youngstown State University, grew up in a Catholic household, so Christmas time was always a big deal for her and her family. She said her grandmother, her mom and herself would always go to church every Sunday.
“My grandma and my mom would do their best to commit me to believing in Santa Claus,” Bone said. “They would have me sit on his lap in Kraynaks down in Pennsylvania.”
Bone said she was about 10 years old when she started to realize Santa wasn’t real, and was okay with it since she had been expecting it. She said her mom was accepting of it, and they had a nice, honest conversation about it.
When it comes to parents doing this with their children, Bone said she thinks it’s cute, and important to keep a child’s innocence.
“Giving them something to look forward to on Christmas, I think, really gives a good image for the family,” Bone said.
Shariana Heller, a chemistry and pre-med major at YSU, said it took her a long time to not believe in Santa. Although when she found out the truth, she did not react too badly about it since she was older, and everything made a lot of sense.
Heller said she thinks parents should just tell their children the truth, and they should get straight to the point.
Gabriella Whitfield, a mathematics major at YSU, said she was only four when she learned Santa isn’t real, because her mother didn’t want to lie to her.
“When I was little, and even now, I’m pretty straightforward in the facts, so it didn’t bother me as much as it probably would have bothered other kids,” Whitfield said.
Whitfield said she remembers being in school, and everyone else didn’t know the truth about Santa when she did, so trying to keep the secret about it was difficult for her, especially at such a young age.
Whitfield said she thinks if a child asks their parent about Santa, they should be honest with them, and not lie to keep them believing.
Mauro Vescera, an economics major and math minor at YSU, said he believed in Santa, but stopped believing when he was five, since he saw his dad put the presents underneath the tree.
“I think it’s weird teaching our kids to praise Santa,” Vescera said. “You’re honestly teaching them to praise some big, fat man in tights to come into your house in the middle of the night, and put presents under the tree and eat your cookies.”
Vescera said the concept of Santa is creepy to him, and it’s teaching children bad values.