Opinion: Why Santa Should Retire


Kristin Barrett, Opinion Editor

Although I do not condone cancel culture or the abolishment of joy and holiday cheer, I do have qualms with the embodiment of Christmas, Santa Claus. I’m not saying old St. Nick should forever be wiped from movies, television shows, and holiday parades; I am, however, saying the façade of his existence should fade.

My reservations began with the fear of Santa instilled in me as a child. Mall Santas are terrifyingly alarming on their own, but being told that this is the man who will sneak into the houses of America late at night to deliver presents adds to the horror. There are countless childhood photos of me, red faced and teary, my body twisting as far away from the lap of the old man in red as I can get. To a young child who is taught about stranger danger, Santa is the antithesis of this established system and a major source of fear.

From my experience, children don’t enjoy Santa, they enjoy gifts. The Santa masquerade is entirely for parents and adults. Children are only excited for Kris Kringle to come down their chimney in shiny black boots because they are told to be. Parents are the ones that enforce the age-old tradition, which creates more work for them anyway.

For parents, sneaking around Christmas Eve night, hiding presents, and pretending they’re from Father Christmas adds to the regular stress of the holidays. Children also aren’t taught to be grateful for those buying these presents and wrapping them and putting them under the tree. Their parents’ hard work goes unnoticed because their effort is upstaged by an imaginary man. Children learn a much better lesson if they are grateful to their parents for the effort and expense, rather than expecting presents because they were decent all year, and made it to the “nice list.” Less forunate families wouldn’t have to feel guilty for not being able to give their children everything on their list if the charade of Santa being able to make any toy in his workshop is dropped. The fact is, some families can’t afford to buy ridiculous gifts that their children ask for, but at a young age with no concept of money, when children don’t get what they wanted, they could assume the alternative–they had been “bad.” Nixing the unachievable goal of Santa’s whimsy is a modern solution for years of damage.

Eliminating Santa and embracing truth would avoid harm. The trust broken between a parent and a child once they realize they have been lied to their entire lives is cripplingly painful. When a child finds out, by accident or intentional Googling or having a classmate look at you like you are mad in the head to believe such foolish folklore, it is psychologically damaging. And every child must find out, because after children are forced to believe for several years, suddenly the whimsy and wonder of the holidays is no longer socially acceptable. So I ask, why start this falsehood, only for its inevitable collapse? Being truthful to children from the start makes holidays much more simple, and puts the emphasis on what they are truly meant to be about, family and gratefulness, neither of which can be accomplished when the center of attention is an enchanting mythical creature with flying deer.

All opinions are the writer’s own.

*Thank you to Mr. Rasmussen (center), Ms. O’Reilly (right), and Mrs. Whitmore (left) for the photos of their children!