Telling children that there really is a Santa Claus may do more harm than good, a Weber State College sociology professor believes, because once children learn that there is no Santa, then they begin to mistrust their parents.

Professor L. Kay Gillespie said parents should never lie to their children, including repeating the big lie about Santa Claus.The professor said Christmas has turned from a holy observance of the birth of Jesus Christ to a commercial stressful time of buying presents because of Santa Claus.

"As a personal aside, it is difficult for me to understand why anyone would teach their precious children about Santa Claus," Gillespie said. "Why, in a culture that so strongly believes in the importance of the parent/child relationship, would anyone be willing to sacrifice that sacred relationship with a lie called Santa Claus?

"We are somehow willing to teach, preach and expect honesty from our children while at the same time beginning our relationship with them with a lie," Gillespie continued. "Is it any wonder that, as they grow older, they turn away from us and to their friends and others when they want the truth about such things as God, sex and drugs."

Gillespie gives his "Anti-Claus" lecture every year to his students, and the idea of telling children there is no Santa means that some students will always walk out of his class.

The professor said that the truth about Santa also is so upsetting to his neighbors that neighborhood children are not allowed to play with his own five children during the holiday season.

"Parents teach the existence of Santa to a large extent because they don't want their children to be ostracized or excluded because of non-belief," he said.

Gillespie is so adamant about telling the truth about Santa because he believes that the society has lost the true meaning of Christmas, and that Santa is the Antichrist.

"By simply rearranging the letters of Santa, we learn his true identity - Satan," Gillespie explained.

Symbols also are important during the Christmas season.

Gillespie said Christ symbolism the color white, giving, honesty, love and rejoicing, while Santa represents the color red, getting, lies, hate, fear, depression, competition and parental blackmail of children.

Christmas celebration has turned into pervasive influence of "Satanism, blatant capitalism and power of evil incorporated in the worship of Santa," the professor said.

"It is time we overthrow those who would trade the spiritual aspects of our religious holidays for the worship of the dollar and capitalistic greed," Gillespie said. "Down with the satanic Santa Claus, the Antichrist."