As a parent of young children, I am interested in stories about when children stopped believing in Santa Claus and how they reacted to the news. I am particularly intrigued by the “cost-benefit analysis kids” who concluded that believing (or at least acting to your parents that you believe) is free but has utility because of the extra “Santa gifts” (presuming that these benefits are not actually paid for by an unreported decrease in the parental gifts you would otherwise get). Kind of cold I suppose, but they probably grow up to become successful economists.

A more romantic outlook is expressed in this sweet song from “The Year Without a Santa Claus”. The comments are worth reading, particularly the one by the daughter of one of the singers.

Our government very definitely believes, they even track the jolly old elf all night. They also have a page telling the funny story of how this all started.

James Joyner and I had an exchange about this regarding the Easter Bunny, and I nicked the above picture from him. He tells his childhood story and describes his parenting strategy here, and it sounds wise to me. Merry Christmas to James and his little ones.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. @KeithNHumphreys