What is the point of Santa Claus?

While the original Saint Nicholas provided us with an inspiring role-model by giving much-needed gifts to the poor, Santa teaches us nothing. In fact, despite his annual, hectic gift delivery, he takes away more than he gives.

Instead of “Mummy and Daddy gave you this because we love you,” parents the world over must tell their little darlings a weird lie:  “A strange bearded man climbed down the chimney and gave you this. It was nothing to do with us.”

It’s not surprising that many young children are terrified of Santa. How can we teach children a consistent message about not accepting sweets from strangers or getting into strange cars when we endorse an old man entering their bedroom at night by the most suspicious method possible in order to give them some presents?


Get back up that freaking chimney you perv, before Teddy bites your ass!

At least the widespread Tooth Fairy conspiracy has a purpose – to provide some compensation for a lost tooth and to distract from any pain or discomfort. Just don’t ask what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth she buys. That will just creep you out.


Ooh, hello little girl, more lovely teeth to sell me? Want to know how much I pay for a kidney?

Most fairy stories have some moral purpose, even if it’s a twisted one driven by revenge lust and primitive notions of justice. But Santa? I have to say it. Not only does he have appalling taste in clothes and a worryingly backward approach to employment law (“Work harder elves, or I’ll cut your pay! What’s that? You don’t get paid?), but he has no moral purpose.

We could have given our children a fine example of giving gifts to others. Instead we tell them lies. We persuade them that magic is real. We freak them out and confuse them about child abuse. We teach them that Christmas is all about getting gifts, not giving. And we outsource moral responsibility to a make-believe old fart.


Did I miss the point? Or am I just taking it all far too seriously, as usual?

Pass me a mince pie and a glass of whisky. Oh yes, and a carrot for Rudolf, too.

12 responses to “Santasmagoria

  1. Amen.

    I wrote a post entitled: “Why Does Santa Clause Get All the Credit”, albeit a bit more selfish than your post in that in focuses on the fact that parents don’t get credit for the gifts they give, while yours hits some excellent points on trusting strangers, scaring kids and losing the whole point of the holiday: giving instead of receiving.

    It is a sham which needs to be eradicated. Luckily, my eleven year olds (yes, plural, I have twins) admitted they don’t believe anymore. Thank goodness!

    Best regards,

    PS: In case you look for my Santa post, you won’t find it on my blog because for some reason it stayed in draft form even though I published it. I am still learning my way around Word Press. Anyway, I was too lazy to republish it.

  2. Steve,
    An Interesting point of view, but I hold to children believing in the “magic” of Christmas. It is sad that Christmas has become so commercialized, but I still like to think about the little ones out there that believe that reindeer can fly and this big jolly man magically making his trip around the world in one night. To those children that still believe, I say, “hold tight to those beliefs!”
    Merry Christmas Steve!

  3. You know this image of Santa (big guy, red suit, white beard et al) was created by the Coca-Cola Company, right? Don’t think it has anything to really do with St Nicholas.

  4. I burst out laughing at the NSA Employee of the Month … ha ! He does look like a gnome in older images. Agreed. You continue to write so well and with such sly wit. I love it.

    • Thank you Luke, although I can’t claim credit for any of the photos. As usual I shamelessly stole them from other blogs.

      • I remember a tutor of mine once at Trinity who said, with regard to photos, charts and other such things, “Take excellent case notes … copy and steal everything.” I remember wondering if I could laugh (I never could tell with him) … he also looked at me once and said in that accent (you know the accent), “Young man, which sort of American are you?” I just gaped … I was only … what? 18? I don’t think I knew yet.

        Anyway … your post was great.

  5. very well is what i have written about this festive ocacsion

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