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The Santa Claus Debate

December 12, 2011
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Every year, one hears variations of the same ol’ theme (no not the “Keep Christ in Christmas” one when any study of history will tell you that Jesus’ birth was moved by the Church to coincide with Pagan festivities) who is Santa?  What are his roots?  Honestly, any more I don’t care, though I have been known to throw out a supposition just to see what new ideas  people have turned up.

the woodland Santa that my mother redecorated for me

I’ll tell you who I think Santa is…a daimon of giving without expectations of return.  Call him the spirit of RAK or random acts of kindness.  I’m sure he appears in various forms throughout the year, but people are most familiar with him as Santa.  Sure one can trace him to some saint or to a variety of deities, both Norse and Greek.  Sure you can blame him all on Coca-Cola.  But whatever this spirit’s history, he is an entity that this world could really stand to see spread around a lot more with very positive effects.

wall hanging

Wanted: Jolly Elf Bearing Gifts

Every human on this earth could stand to be a little more kind, giving and tolerant.   This is something that one should encourage not denigrate.  If you want to spend lots of money on gifts, that is your choice.  No one forced you into it.  On the other hand, most people could stand to be a little more gracious upon receiving gifts, no matter what the gift actually is.  Truly it is the thought that counts.

My son's first ornament

“Santa teaches children that if they are not good they don’t get gifts!”

Umm, yeah, so what?  Honestly, that is the way the world works.  You do not do well, behave well, perform well, etc., you do not get the reward.  (Yes I know this is not a perfect world and sometimes it is who you know, not what you do…work with me here.)Teaching a child something realistic through a fantasy isn’t a bad method.  But let’s call this what it is, a tactic by exasperated parents of children who are borderline unmanageable in their holiday excitement and sugar rush.  I’ve used it.  Heck my son thinks he’s on probation with Santa due to poor behavior.  I’ve had it used on me as a child.

My dad told me once when I was really young that if I wasn’t good Santa was going to bring me a paper bag full of coal (or was it switches?).  When I got up that Christmas morning and saw a paper bag under the tree, I went running into my parents’ room in tears.  (There was a plastic, bendable bunny in it.)  I don’t know a single person that hasn’t heard this at some point in their childhood, none of us were scarred from it.  At least Santa doesn’t say you can’t get a gift if you are gay, a girl, a Pagan or anything else.  Only if you do not behave.  Really why is that so bad?  Culturally there is some version of this Santa spirit through out the world.

So yes this Hellenic Pagan encourages her son to believe in Santa.  When pushed for details, I’ve told him that Santa is a spirit of giving selflessly.  So I have not lied to him because I do believe there is such a spirit.  Heck I think the world would benefit if only more people believed and willing played the part with a loving heart.

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