“The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?”
Here’s how I see it:
Fantasy. It is necessary to be able to deal with Reality.
I believe that the “magical” parts of childhood were created for parents, teachers, and anyone who works with small children. To put it matter-of-factly, they were created to break up the year into manageable parts.
Valentine’s Day. Sparkly red decorations and stories of cupids and endless love. Definite fantasy, but created to aid adults in making it through the cold (and sometimes snowy) winter months, and the “letdown” after the December holiday season.
St. Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns and shamrocks. Parades to celebrate the approaching start of Spring. Imagining that leprechauns live among us and reading stories about them works wonders for the imagination. By the way, who really knows for sure that leprechauns don’t exist? They’re kinda cute little people! There’s decorating with green and wearing green and eating green. That’s donuts, ice cream, and candy of course. Getting through March. A cinch!!
Easter. The Bunny. The candy. The colors. The baskets filled with eggs and chocolates and jelly beans and bubbles that promise us outdoor fun is on its way… After the Easter Bunny comes you’re good till at least mid June ’cause then it’s SUMMER!
Fourth of July. Although it is not fantasy, I felt the need to add this one because it fills a gap between fantasy holidays. We celebrate in red, white, and blue. We exude national and hometown pride with parades and fireworks. There are barbecues and flying flags and beaches and just plain old fun.
Halloween. This holiday always started in September in my house. Planning and wondering, “What should I be.” The lure of the darkness and houses decorated with graveyard scenes…and candy of course. Whether you believe that ghosts are fantasy or not, children usually like to believe they are. I know I did.
Christmas. Fantasy at its best – at least for children. It’s simply magical.
As far as the tooth fairy goes, our house’s fairy is extremely unpredictable. Sometimes she comes, then I guess sometimes she forgets or falls asleep. Either way, when you are a little person, and a part of your body falls out or off (depending how you look at it,) I think you should have something to look forward to. A fairy coming for your tooth sounds great to me! It’s definitely better than a lecture from your parents on the way the human body works.
You see then, my hat is off to the creator of fantasy. For me, fantasy made those days of living with toddlers easier, and lots more fun. It’s just my theory.
Besides, I still believe in magic. (and Santa.)