With all the excess turkey and mashed potatoes stored away for leftovers, we now move towards the end of year holiday celebrations. Christmas music will now start playing at every department store. If your neighbors are anything like mine, the lawns on your street are already decorated with lights and inflatable snowmen – making your house look bad by comparison!
Perhaps the most important tradition is the practice of telling children about Santa Claus. For generations, the tale of a gregarious man who delivers gifts across the globe has been instilled in the minds of youth. Very rarely, though, do we interrogate the message this sends children and the larger worldview it upholds.
When we really study song lyrics about Santa Claus, two disturbing trends are evident: 1). he has the habits of a pedophile, and 2). he is a lazy, exploitative capitalist. For these reasons, we should seriously rethink the role that Santa Claus is allowed to play in our Christmas celebrations.
Santa Claus Has the Habits of a Pedophile
In America, people are constantly on guard against the sexual violation of children. Yet, when it comes to Santa Claus, we soften our defense. When we listen to the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town, several red flags are set off. Consider the following lyrics: “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake”. The question is: from where is Santa watching?! From outside our children’s bedroom window in a ski mask? Or did he place a small camera inside a teddy bear – and he is watching from a white van around the block?
The entire profile of Santa Claus would merit a criminal investigation if it belonged to anyone else. After all, he is a grown man who devotes all of his vigor to other people’s children. Does that sound normal to you?! Go ahead: try going to a playground and handing out “gifts” to random youth. It will take all but 2.5 seconds before their parents intervene and suspect you of being a pervert. So why is that we teach our children that a strange man slides down the chimney in the middle of the night to distribute presents?! In a roundabout way, we are normalizing the foreign surveillance of children in the name of ‘discipline’. Additionally, we are overlooking the fact that Santa has a long history of breaking & entering into residences to keep our children sated or happy.
This guy is a major creep. It is time we put Santa Claus on the sex offender registry.
The Santa Tale Upholds Capitalist Exploitation
It is obvious that Santa Claus is the mascot of Christmas. However, as we put Santa on a pedestal, we overlook that there is an entire system of labor that goes beyond this figurehead to include Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, and the elves. The main question is: who does what during the productive process?
Several decades ago, the late great Nat King Cole recorded the song Mrs. Santa Claus. According to the lyrics, Mrs. Claus performs a litany of tasks such as:
“Feed the reindeer all their hay,
wrap the gifts and pack the sleigh,
helping Santa all day
… keeping his red suit looking nice, and giving him advice
giving the brownies their spice.
Read the notes from girls and boys,
turn in the order for their toys”
The elves spend an enormous amount of time manufacturing toys for children. In the song We Are Santa’s Elves, we learn that they “work hard all day … filling Santa’s shelf with a toy for each girl and boy”. From the track Ten Little Elves, we discern that the elves work in unison “sewing, painting, sawing, hammering, and wrapping” the gifts. In other words, the North Pole is a factory with an assembly line style of production, and the elves are part of the workforce.
We cannot forget about the reindeer! The song Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer shows us that they guide the sleigh for main deliveries.
So, if the reindeer guide the sleigh, the elves make the toys, and Mrs. Claus helps facilitate these processes – what exactly does Santa do? Nothing!! All he does is take credit for the hard work that everyone else already did! He simply shows up to deliver the finished product, and walks away with all the glory. Santa does not contribute to the actual process of production – he simply owns the sleigh and the factory that the products are made in. He is not a worker, he is an owner. This means he is a lazy capitalist who survives solely by exploiting his workforce: Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer.
Under capitalism, we reward those who are unproductive and devalue those who are productive. The central figures of Christmas should be Mrs. Claus, the elves, and/or the reindeer – not Santa Claus.