I came across a seasonal article from 2015 which offers a psychological perspective on whether 'you' should lie to your children about Santa. It struck me that this would be a good subject to explore in class as part of a critical thinking exercise, where students are asked to form an opinion based on a review of relevant published research on the topic.
There are pros and cons to each route and there’s no evidence that children are harmed in either case. What’s clear, though, is that parents shouldn’t be overly worried about the repercussions of believing in Santa...The key task for parents is managing the likely disappointment that comes when their children eventually grasp the truth.
I appreciate that the story of Santa Claus has particular religious connotations, so I think it's important to point out that it's the nature of the exercise which I am promoting, the subject of which could easily be changed. Indeed, Santa Claus could simply be offered as an example before asking students to choose a mythical character that formed an important part of their cultural upbringing.
Returning to the question of whether 'we' should lie to children about Santa, the author the article, Jared Piazza, a lecturer in moral psychology from Lancaster University in the UK, considers both arguments for and against. For instance, a common argument for letting children believe in Santa Claus is that it encourages better behavior; however, an argument against is that encouraging belief in Santa can make it difficult for children to differentiate between fantasy and reality, which in turn could impede their cognitive development.
Another article published a few days ago asked five experts the question should I lie to my children about Santa? Interestingly, four out of five said NO and among the various issues raised were memory, social belonging, executive function, imagination, obedience, value judgments and deceit.
Teacher Who Told First-Grade Students Santa Isn't Real Won't Be Returning To School