Faceoff: Santa Claus narrative promotes ostracism of low income children


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St. Nicholas is the most popular non-Biblical saint.

To many, the Western Christian narrative of Santa Claus is harmless to today’s youth and fosters a cheerful message to children across the nation about the joys of giving and receiving during the winter holiday season. However, viewed as a whole, we as a collective society have let the Santa Claus narrative go too far.

From what we know about Santa Claus, it is believed that the elderly man spends the entire year watching the behavior and moods of children across the globe and judges them based on their actions. These children, unbeknown to them, are then separated into lists categorizing them according to their behavior.

This massive list dubbs these innocent children as either,”naughty,” or “nice.” Additionally, children are given gifts based off of their corresponding position in this list. While “good” children are gifted presents that are beyond their wildest desires, “bad” children are given lumps of coal or nothing at all as a punishment for their overall behavior.

Santa Claus’ practice of making this monstrous list, and checking it twice, is ultimately contributing to the erasure of the individualized personality and nuance of a seemingly innocent child’s identity.

However, to speak beyond the transcendence of the tradition, low-income and working class parents are genuinely set up for failure in the long run with the Santa Claus narrative. Parents who can’t afford what their child asks for during the holiday season are both letting their children down, and are suffering to instill the ideas in their children’s mind that they are inherently “good” and are worthy of gifts.

When these children do not receive what they asked for, they feel unheard and unloved by a higher power. This feeling can lead these children down a rabbit hole of depressive existential episodes.

Additionally, children who do “find out” about the grander capitalistic creation of Santa Claus are ostracized by their communities. Parents and teachers tell these children every holiday season to “keep quiet” in fear that their knowledge would “ruin” another child’s Christmas.

In most cases, there is little to no thought given when telling these informed children this. Only the views and feelings of others are prioritized before theirs. When you think about it, not only have these children been told that their imaginary jolly savior is non-existent, but they are also told that their mere existence is a burden to their peers.

Furthermore, the fact that parents and educators must basically walk on eggshells to maintain the lie of a jolly, fat white man who judges children is proof that this narrative has gone too far.

If the mere slip of a tongue could potentially damage the mental foundations of a child, then perhaps we need to bring in the discussion of how necessary the narrative of Santa Claus is. We like to believe that parents would never lie to their children, but the tradition of Santa Claus is a clear indication that parents can and continue to lie to children every year.

If our generation told our children that there was no Santa Claus and instead said that we are buying them gifts this time of year to commend them, regardless of behavior, then I’m almost positive we would have a much happier holiday season.