I enjoyed Santa Claus when I was a boy and also when I raised my own four daughters. One of favorite Santa stories was how my nephew Larry got sent home form his third grade class because he had made his classmates cry by insisting repeatedly that there there was no Santa Claus.
The only thing that tells me is that Larry was committed to truth telling at any personal cost all his life. He wrote great songs about Christmas. One I remember was Called “Get Those Reindeer Off My Roof”.
I do have other points I want to make about Santa Clause. As I have thought about Santa for the last few weeks, I feel this myth demonstrates how deeply male dominance is ingrained in the popular culture of our nation.
- Santa is the female term in Spanish language for saint as in Santa Barbara and as San is the male for saint as in San Diego or St James. I sometimes indulge my cynical side by wondering if the idea of transsexuality is built into the myth. It amuses me to think of the sexual diversity some Christians are so frightened about has crept into the Christmas they celebrate so happily with their kids,
- Santa has very white, hair, beard and is a totally white figure. Sometimes his skin is colored pink as if he somewhat albino. I see no trace of any other racial groups in his companions even among the elves. Mrs Claus is a minor character. I suppose she bakes him cookies as so many mothers do around the world.
- My beloved Aunts Nellie and Aunt Laura made Christmas gift opening a good celebration for me. However when I was faced with the inevitable gift comparisons with my better off friends at church I dreaded it.
- One year I got a puppy. I felt my Christmas at last could be favorably compared with my friend’s largesse. The first friend I told about my puppy at church asked “What breed was it” Somehow that diminished my Christmas.
- What about the really poor kids who never get elaborate gifts? I wonder if like me they feel “less than” .
- A friend once told me that his gift each year was an orange. One year a rich man stopped in to visit and absentmindedly reached over and ate his orange. That man never knew how much pain he caused my friend. I wonder how much pain has been caused by the heavily commercialized, judgemental but generous to good kids Santa myth has caused in the world.
- What about Black, Asian and Hispanic kids? What about poor kids who never get anything for which they had begged Santa.
- The Santa myth says people that are powerful have a right to enter a person’s house. Do you feel like I do that government gets ever more invasive. I thank God for the ACLU that imposes some limits on the most intrusive of powers of government.
- Department stores love Santa because much of their profit margin comes from overheated buying during the holidays.
- I do not have a opinion on what you should do about the Santa myth. When my kids were little I taught them to think about the commercials they were watching. What message are the commercials giving you and is the message true? In the same way I just wanted to look at the Santa myth for myself and make my observations
- I am 80 now and all my child rearing days are 50 years behind me so Santa is not an issue. So do as you please and I will not criticise.
- One of the nice things about America is you are never more than 20 feet from a trash can. Feel free to use it on what I have written if you want to.