On the traditions of Santa Claus and April Fools Day, conventional morality says it suddenly becomes okay to lie and deceive because it's tradition, and if your lies disappoint others and cause them great upset, it's their fault for not being able to take a joke.
I can't be the only one offended by other people lying to me on April Fools. A tradition can no more change the morality of lying than a legislation can change the value of pi.
I suspect a lot of people who are hurt by the lies told on April Fools are held back from expressing their upset because they know nonconsent won't be respected anyway. Most people don't see lying as the aggressive act it is, so giving nonconsent wouldn't stop them, and of course, that would make the problem worse. I know I've experienced this effect.
Harm of the Santa Claus lie¶
There is, as with many traditions, a much deeper and more insidious idea being taught than what might be obvious. Santa Claus is claimed to be so powerful that he not only knows the behavioral record of every child in the world, but is able to supply and deliver presents for each one of them, yet he never appears anywhere else. There are no legends of him using the massive power he obviously possesses for any purpose beside this, no legends of him using his omniscience to stop false convictions or delivering food to poor adults. It's exactly like the neglect of the Christian God! A being of unfathomable power who for the most does nothing with it despite how much he could be helping so many of the least fortunate people. Parents who tell their children the Santa Claus lie are teaching them in their most vulnerable years that those with massive power are not to be held to the same moral standards as oneself; that they are for some reason heroes when they do anything at all and all the times they refuse to help someone should just be overlooked.
There's also a case, though much less important, that the expectation of regular gifts breeds a degenerate entitlement in children. The reaction children sometimes have to being dissatisfied with what they receive (as I sometimes was) is strong evidence that this is so.
One thing that's that just astonishing about this is the incredible irony of a parent telling their kids the Santa Claus lie, and then complaining when they don't receive obedience. Maybe if you didn't go out of your way to tell them their possessions didn't come from you, they'd be more grateful?!? Fucking morons.