In retrospect, it seems like an imprudent idea to perpetuate the lie of these mythical creatures

TIDINGS FILE PHOTO - Calli MastersWith another Christmas having come and gone, for many kids it meant an annual visit from their favorite red-suited gift-bearer: Santa Claus.

As my brother and I are both well into our teens, Saint Nick no longer holds mystery and wonder in our household. Instead, he's resigned to an old joke much like the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy.

Now that I am enlightened to the falsehood of these childhood fascinations, I have to question why they were ever established in the first place.

In retrospect, it seems like an imprudent idea to perpetuate the lie of these mythical creatures for children, because at some point the truth has to be devastatingly revealed.

I distinctly remember the moment my belief in the tooth fairy was shattered.

Having already begun to have doubts about her existence, I hatched a plan to uncover the truth. One school day I lost a tooth and decided not to tell my parents when I arrived home, figuring that if I still found a dollar under my pillow in place of my tooth then I would know it wasn't my parents making the exchange.

That night, I did my ritual as usual: I placed my tooth in its special pouch, slipped it beneath my pillow and forced myself to fall asleep despite my anxiousness.

The next morning I was crushed to see that my tooth remained exactly as I had left it.

After years of meticulously writing notes to my tooth fairy, bewildered by the magic of her existence, it was disheartening to know that what I had believed in so dearly was essentially reduced to nothing more than a childish fantasy.

After I came to terms with the tooth fairy's fabrication, it wasn't too long before I realized that the Easter bunny, Santa Claus and our Irish leprechauns were nothing more than lies as well.

However, being an older sister meant that I was required to protect my younger brother's beliefs for as long as he was willing to keep them.

Some older children take pride in the idea that they hold such "grown-up" information over their younger siblings, but I just felt cruel to be lying to him — almost condescending.

When my brother and I were young, we were both pretty emotional kids, so we took our dedication to Santa Claus very seriously.

Each year we would diligently put out milk and cookies for the jolly elf using a platter exclusively designated for him, never forgetting to leave a few carrots for the reindeer as well.

I can remember one year I even refused to leave my bed to use the bathroom during the night in fear of spotting Santa and breaking some sort of code of trust and secrecy.

Around the age when others kids began to lose their belief in Santa Claus, I still continued to naively argue with a few of my friends over his existence when they insisted it was just my parents, and I recall times that my brother had done the same.

What is initially a lighthearted and fun idea turns into the possibility of ridicule when kids are quickly divided into two categories: the believers and the nonbelievers.

Confrontations between the two groups are inevitable, leading to the crushing moment of a little kid being laughed at for believing in what they had always known to be the truth and the trauma that comes with realizing their parents had lied to them.

Following the introduction of these mythical beings is eventual heartbreak. And the cycle only repeats generation after generation.

Every time a holiday rolls around too much focus is spent on these characters. While the magic and mystery they bring to the holidays are exciting, perhaps this enthusiasm should be preserved as a piece of the day rather than attached to a single character.

I want to call for an end to Santa Claus and all his comrades, which means parents might have to learn to be a bit more creative in persuading their kids not be naughty during the year.

Calli Masters is a junior at West Linn High School.

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