By Lauren Gray
Before I begin, I would like to apologize for excluding the lucky individuals who didn’t grow up believing in, or should I say were lied to, about Santa Claus. I would also like to apologize to those whose childhoods were made more magical by Saint Nick. If it’s any consolation, I can’t relate to either group of people. I was one of those kids who grew up believing in Santa. I was also one of those kids who grew up being absolutely terrified of Santa, as well as every other mythical holiday creature. But now that I am an adult (apply term loosely) I can express those fears on a more in-depth level.
Let’s get the idea of Santa straight. He’s a big guy with a beard who drives a reindeer sleigh, from the North pole and enters our house once a year to leave us presents and eat our cookies. Right off the bat, breaking and entering. Personally I feel like that is an incredible breach of boundaries. I mean, this is my house we are talking about here. My parents didn’t lock the doors at night just so some husky guy in a suit could finagle his way in through the chimney. Why can’t he just knock on the door? Then he’s a welcomed guest in our house instead of a fluffy weirdo who steals my cookies. How about Santa hitting us with a courtesy call? If he knows if we’ve been naughty or nice I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by assuming he’s capable of getting our phone numbers.
And on the topic of naughty or nice, how does Santa come to conclusions on these character evaluations? Naughty is never clearly defined in any sort of literature or song that I could find. So what constitutes naughty? If my thoughts are naughty does that count? What if I apologize after I’m naughty? Five year old me had no idea if I was on the path to pony figurines or coal. Why would you put that kind of pressure on young children? Also, knowing if I’m naughty or nice, sleeping or awake all year long seems like it would be an incredibly invasive and arduous task. The lengths that guy has to go through to keep everyone on the right list has to cross some ethical lines somewhere. Adults get riled up about the NSA spying on them yet don’t even question the hoops Santa has to jump through to complete his naughty or nice analysis of their children.
Another point five year old me would like to bring up is where does the coal come from? I doubt Santa is stopping at Walmart and picking up massive bags of Kingsford. The only solution I could elucidate would be that Santa has his own coal mine. If he makes his own toys he has to make his own coal. But does he even make his own toys? When I was growing up, all of my toys were either Hasbro or Tyco. So is Santa affiliated with those companies? Do they have some sort of arrangement? They can’t possibly have a positive ROI if they are just giving toys to “nice” children.
Elves are also a perplexing aspect of the Santa regime. There is never a solid explanation about where they came from. There is also never a solid reason given as to why they are working for Santa. In all honesty, elves seem like little happy slaves that work super hard for no pay. It’s not like Santa is making money so how does he feed, house and keep maintenance up on his operation of elves? Why are they so happy to only be toymakers? With all of this in mind I think it’s safe to say elves are just little, brainwashed, empty creatures who do whatever Santa tells them and that’s just wrong.
The last aspect of Santa that should have everyone plugging their chimneys this holiday season is his striking resemblance to the Christmas monster Krampus. If you don’t know who Krampus is, he is basically a demonic Austro-Bavarian anti-Santa who punishes the “naughty” children on Christmas. He appears the night before Dec. 6 and he whips children with chains and then pulls them into his sack and drags them into his lair. This night is called Krampusnacht. A night where a mystical figure breaks into your house, has a sack, and delivers consequences to children; coincidence? I think not. It’s pretty safe to assume that old Saint Nick may have an evil alter-ego and that’s enough for me to not leave my stockings out by the fireplace.
I think childhood Lauren had every reason in the world to be scared of Santa. And maybe you’ll be more understanding of your screaming child before you put it on that mall Santa’s lap.
Lauren Gray studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @The Sagebrush.