Hoo, doggies, but my post about Santaism got 'em going! The 25 comments may have set an Agoraphilia record. I thank you all. I love a good holiday dust-up, especially one that comes just in time for our celebration of the True Reason for the Season: Winter Solstice.
I especially appreciated how my wife, d, jumped into the fray to defend me and her family. Picture a bar fight in which a man is momentarily overpowered. In the stock movie version, his woman saves him by blind-siding his foe with a bottle. In contrast, d would break the bottle in half, grab its neck, step in front of the bad guy, and growl, "Back off or eat glass, punk." And yet, far from a thick-necked burly-girl, she's a total babe!
As to the merits of the argument, I found most convincing Glen's explanation of why parents lie about Santa. He wrote, "Santa provides a reward-and-punishment scheme that *appears* out of the parents' hands. 'I can't help it if you didn't get many gifts -- I guess *Santa* thought you were naughty.'"
That jibes with something I've often observed: Discipline probably constitutes the most unpleasant of a parent's duties. Contrary to what kids may think, it is no fun to see someone you love feeling ashamed, sad, or angry with you. Yet parents who skimp on discipline exhibit not kindness but sloth and selfishness.