I just want to begin by saying I began writing this entry three weeks ago. Thankfully, I waited, because there has been so much about my primary topic in the news lately.
I have celebrated Christmas my entire life. However, I don't enjoy what I feel the holiday season has become. I am not a Grinch. Or a Scrooge. I am not a big fan of Santa Claus. I don't hold it against people who are. Seriously. My issues with Santa started, not surprisingly, when I was young. I grew up believing in the myth, but began to have questions at age 5. I grew up in the projects and barely saw white people in my community. I just didn't entirely believe that I wouldn't notice a white dude walking around with a big ol' bag of gifts in my neighborhood. Someone would have mentioned him. Then, there was the lack of a chimney and the numerous Santas stationed around NYC. I didn't need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Santa wasn't real. What I couldn't understand then and still have issues with now is why anyone would want to give credit for being thoughtful to some random stranger. So, my wife and I have discussed how we might want to integrate something like Santa into our daughter's Christmas experience. My wife's biggest fear is absolutely legitimate. She does not want the child who spoils Christmas for the other children in her class that celebrate it. As a big fan of pop culture, who wants the kid who doesn't at least say, "Spoiler Alert!" before ruining Christmas. All I know is I want my child to know that someone cares about her enough to give her a gift. It's not that I want credit from her, but I think she should know that her family and friends are generous and thoughtful. I feel so many of us give during this season out of obligation and not out of love and selflessness. Here is a very interesting article about gift giving that gave me pause. Truly.
Now back to Kringle. Santa might represent an aspect of Christmas, but I feel objects/symbols like him do take away from what the holiday is supposed to represent: the birth of Christ. Christmas has become bigger than that.
All of this probably makes me more of a Linus Van Pelt. Remember this.
Clearly, I am not the only person who finds Santa Claus problematic. It all began with the following article.
If you read this and felt the author was trying to literally incite a massive change in society by protest and rioting, then I might understand the pure anger behind this.
As is often the case, Jon Stewart weighed in on this maelstrom.
As did others.
So, my takeaway is that it was certainly worth a discussion with my wife about Santa Claus, Christmas imagery, and the dismissal by some of other meaningful holidays during these winter months. Because of these conversations, my family and I are strongly considering celebrating Kwanzaa this year, in addition to Christmas. As of now, we acknowledge Santa, more as a spirit of Christmas, then as a chimney hopping visitor. We'll see how long that lasts. Might have to do some creative storytelling with my daughter. Happy Holidays!