My Auntfanny says:
And most of all I worry that if I set up Santa as a benevolent, fatherly, all-knowing character (he knows if you're naughty or nice, that is a god-like fantasy), she'll be vulnerable to anybody who dresses up in a Santa suit till she's old enough to discriminate for herself what lies behind the beard.
We were at a Christmas market recently where this Santa guy was going around talking to the kids, and giving out presents. Then he started talking to my daughter, and what he was saying was appalling: that he was Santa and Santa knows more than all the daddies in the world and rubbish like that. She had been enchanted by him, but when he started in on that she got confused and disturbed. Of course we rushed her away immediately, with a few choice words for Santa, but it gave me a first hand look at how much power you could give the ikon of Santa by creating him as a real figure in your child's inner life. It scared the hell out of me.
Exactly the sort of thing that follows from a "little white lie". I think of reality as a calm pond like glass which reflects all the world about it as a mirror. But, if you disturb the surface with the tiniest touch everything is distorted. So too with a distortion of truth for even the best of reasons. A childs view becomes, for awhile, distorted as a result. It touches every side of the pond so to speak.