It may be time for a year without a Santa Claus

Santa Claus may not be as essential to Christmas as many think

Taylor Reisdorf

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March 25, 2020


The figure of Santa Claus is iconic. The man in the red suit can be seen as the embodiment of Christmas spirit. However, I find him, and what he represents, to be somewhat problematic.

After Thanksgiving passes, Christmas becomes the focus for many. Holiday shopping deals begin, Christmas trees are cut down, string lights are hung, holiday tunes flood radio stations, wish lists are sent out, Christmas movies play on repeat and shops are stuffed with holiday decor.

And it wouldn’t be the holiday season without Santa Claus, most commonly referred to as just Santa, making an appearance, right?

I’m not sure if Santa is an essential part of Christmas. While I can understand why he “exists” and how he can sometimes enhance the Christmas spirit, I find him and what he represents to be somewhat problematic.

The tradition of Santa would be nearly impossible to break. The legend of Santa Claus has been around for a long time and has morphed into this magnificent tale of workshops in the North Pole an overnight around-the-world venture by sleigh, and reindeer and elves who put in long hours to create the toys children dream of.

Even as a young adult, the image and idea of Santa still brings me joy. He became a major part of my Christmases.

Santa represents a time of innocence and brings back fond memories of childhood: Leaving out cookies with milk on Christmas Eve and waking up with excitement to the toys I asked for.

His knowledge of all behavior and promise of gifts incentivizes children to behave, which can be a positive thing. When good behavior is rewarded, it’s likely to continue beyond the reception of said reward.

However, his existence tends to put an emphasis on getting gifts when there should be more focus on family, sacrifice and giving more than you receive during the holiday season.

Children grow up expecting a mound of gifts under the tree, and this expectation sticks with them even beyond the realization that Santa isn’t real. Also, young children might start expecting rewards every time they’re good. Good behavior should become natural without incentive.

The idea of Santa also becomes problematic because some parents aren’t able to afford — or don’t find it necessary to purchase — gifts their children want. This could lead to disappointment. So some kids may feel forgotten by “Santa” during the holiday season, even if they’ve behaved.

Additionally, the tales of Santa are just that: Tales. However, some parents speak of Santa as a real person and go to great lengths to convince their children of his existence.

I remember one particular Christmas Eve when I was a little older. My parents realized my belief was fading and gave one last effort to reinforce my belief in the man in the red suit: They had my grandfather come to our house and place the gifts under the tree while we were at my uncle’s house.

We came home to neatly wrapped gifts under our tree. How could it have been my parents if none of us were even home? Sneaky, Rick and Shawn, really sneaky.

There’s a video of me screaming “Kendra (my friend) said her parents are Santa Claus. Just wait until I tell her about this!” I was so desperate to hold onto my belief and hope in the existence of Santa Claus. The next year, the truth would be revealed by a second cousin (I’m still not over it).

I’m the oldest of two children, so I was the one who had to experience the full-force disappointment when I realized Santa isn’t real.

While parents don’t tell their children the “lie” about Santa with bad intentions, as I said before, his image and supposed existence harbor a sense of innocence in children, and the discovery of the lack of his existence results in a loss of said innocence.

While I personally believed wholeheartedly in Santa and all of those other holiday figures for a good portion of my childhood, I know this isn’t the case for everyone.

Also, the idea that Santa “sees you when you’re sleeping” and sneaks into your home in the middle of the night is a very strange and creepy concept.

All in all, Santa Claus is a tradition who has become a major part of Christmas. However, I don’t find him essential, and at times the concept of Santa is problematic.