This Week in Family
Protecting a child’s belief in Santa in 2018 requires a lot of effort beyond leaving behind half-eaten cookies near the fireplace—parents have started to take measures such as installing browser extensions to hide web pages that might reveal the truth. The Santa myth is a stressful tradition that might be more trouble than it’s worth for parents, says the Atlantic staff writer Ashley Fetters. She explores the reasons why families try so hard to preserve their kids’ belief in Santa, and why it might be time to bring the illusion to an end.
The stress of spending money on holiday presents has led a contingent of people to rethink their gift-giving traditions entirely, says the Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker. While lower-income families often opt out of the tradition out of necessity, wealthier people are starting to join them, choosing new customs such as focusing on the holiday’s religious significance, donating to charity, or giving nonmaterial gifts like music lessons.
The United States dominates the world in one peculiar metric: paper-towel consumption. The competition isn’t even remotely close; Americans spend almost as much on paper towels as the rest of the world combined, writes Joe Pinsker. A lot of this obsession has to do with Americans’ high income levels—households with more money can afford more disposable cleaning supplies—but it also says a lot about their desire for convenience.