No, by spoilers, I don’t mean the type that have to do with movie or book endings; I mean the type that have to do with myths and legends …
WARNING: You MAY NOT like this – so please don’t read ahead if you have a fragile constitution regarding Christmas …
Like most people, I love the Christmas season. The lights, the smells, and the general atmosphere regarding the holiday is very pleasant. It doesn’t have to do with gifts or presents, but that generally warm feeling we all get when kids get time off of schools, parents know there’s an extra day or two off of work coming, and people tend to be a bit more cheery – sometimes. But, one thing about Christmas has always bothered me and that’s the Santa Legacy. The story of Kris Kringle seems like a time-honored tradition of good spirits, lots of joy, and happiness. The story, and the character, represent an ideal of what the best of humanity could … and should strive to be. That doesn’t mean that people need to strive to be magical or whisk around on the backs of reindeer at lightening speeds … but that we can all have the good nature spirit of giving, kindness, and forgiveness.
Yet, the Santa Legacy has been swamped in the spirit of commerce, high prices, stress, pressure, and an unrelenting assault of advertisements and commercialism. I’ve known for a very long time what the truth of the story is and for a very long time, I’ve not said anything. Like so many others, the idea of letting people believe has superficially seemed more beneficial than not. As it was said in the 1994 rendition of Miracle on 34th Street, “I ask the court to judge which is worse: A lie that draws a smile, or a truth that draws a tear.”
That’s a tough one … isn’t it?
After watching it again, I was reminded that the Judge, regardless of that statement, was going to rule against good ol’ Kris Kringle. And, even though the emotional reasoning of not supporting the truth seems obvious, the logic that motivates that decision is completely counter-intuitive (especially coming from a commercially backed film designed to make you shop??). After all, Christmas is not about a magical, red-suit wearing old man who stalks children all year long only to have unpaid elf labor violate copyright laws to construct toys that will be delivered via breaking and entering. Sad to say – but that is the breakdown of how that works.
No, Christmas is supposed to be about celebrating the world-wide unified belief of the birth of a demigod who came, suffered, and died, for the sole benefit of saving a fallen humanity, isn’t it? And, if you take a good look at the world – it’s sunk pretty low (then and now). The spirit of giving is a wonderful testimony to the kindness of people … when it doesn’t involve commercialism.
But, it does. And, the fact is, whether it’s Macy‘s making billions from spending millions on a parade, movies that sell Santa Claus (or the anti Santa Claus), or the fact that parents surrender a portion of their gifts to a mystical figure just to fulfill a lie they’ve been telling … Christmas is commercialized. We don’t give gifts for our children to believe in Christ or other religious figures who are unseen. And, few people honor the truth about coal in a stocking – so it doesn’t function as a control mechanism for kids (and to most peoples’ surprise was not originally intended to be). What you may think about the so-called “Christian/Catholic” Christmas celebrated today … is NOT what it was less than 200 years ago!!
So – here it is, 10 sad truths you may not have known about the Legacy of Santa Claus, and Christmas:
1. St. Nicholas and Santa Claus – are not the same person (nor are they factually based on each other, direct or implicit). While some sites take the story about St. Nick and Santa and just lump them together, that’s not true (thank you internet for inventing history!!). Some sites try to use the Danish Sinterklaas, or the UK Santa, or some other historical character as the basis of fact without actually having any truth or support for that connection. The truth is that “Santa Claus”, as you know him today, is a complete fabrication concocted in the early 1800’s by folks who wanted adults to STOP celebrating Christmas. Yes … ADULTS. And, how did they do this? The Saint Nicholas Society of New York made up three little poems, teaming up with big business, that changed the focus of Christmas toward children. The society was founded by the author, Washington Irving, in 1804, and promoted St. Nicholas as a patron Saint … (not the Church). In 1821, the book, “The Children’s Friend,” put Santa on a sleigh with reindeer. In 1923, “The Night Before Christmas,” brought him into the homes of good moms and dads with good children who all kept peace at the holidays (vs. the drunken sailors and mobs that had previously heralded in the season!!). Finally, “A Visit from Santa Claus,” sealed the deal. St. Nick, albeit a supposedly kind Saint (through myths and legends … including magical acts such as sewing dismembered children back together and bringing them back to life for revenge <= no, that’s not a joke!), was not a jolly, bearded, old man. He was not a ‘known’ or proven bringer of gifts (like the wooden, carved toys some shows have portrayed, being carried on foot through the frozen outback of Germany). He was not anything that we have come to know – ever. As a side note – the Saint Nicholas Society doesn’t even acknowledge Christmas as part of their history … they celebrate December 6th for St. Nick??!!
2. Santa’s name is Germanic – but not from legend. During the Civil War, Thomas Nast set out to solidify his society’s efforts to promote Santa and drew cartoons showing the Santa we now have. He took the name, Sankt Niklaus, from the German version of the Greek Saint. St. Nicholas was originally known for his close companionship with Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht, who were abductees of bad children. And, using this name was a huge risk had Nast known the relationship of Ruprecht and Krampus to children … which it would appear that either he didn’t, or that he knew it and left that as an unconscious warning that later supported the song “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” (you better watch out…), as he transformed the name into something ‘magical’ (conveniently leaving out the truth). And, looking at historical records from around the world, the Christmas season has been a time for children to be punished … and rarely rewarded (by a lot of mythological creatures that have nothing to do with St. Nick OR Santa Clause).
3. Stockings were not hung by the chimney with care. Stockings were hung to dry them out. Now, according to legend, St. Niklaus’ primary act of kindness is that he dropped coins down a chimney that magically floated up and landed in a stocking. Even the Smithsonian Institute would have you believe this. But, even those who propagate this story have to be clear: there is no basis for this legend or connection with modern day use of stockings. “The Night Before Christmas,” is considered to be the start of the stocking trend in America. Even the Smithsonian provides images of the commercial efforts of stockings manufacturers and the government to replace the Christmas Tree! So – you’re putting food and candy into a dirty sock for no reason! (Not to mention that you’re spending extra money on things other than the primary gifts … for no reason … except that kids have come not to appreciate an orange or a candy bar as a gift, not knowing that children in other countries have never even had the privilege of seeing these things!)
4. St. Niklaus was a fighter (of sorts). He was in and out of jail, and his remains were discovered with a broken nose. It’s one thing to take a patron saint of children and kindness and use him as the basis for Santa – but another to use a rowdy, hard-headed, and black-bible thumping saint who could beat you into the ground. This served two purposes: first, it provided the Saint Nicholas Society with a figure that even the rowdy sailors (of whom he WAS the patron saint) would not question, and second, when telling children they better watch out, coupling him with Krampus, makes for a terrifying story on one wants to contradict.
5. Santa’s origins … or rather, St. Nick’s origins … are difficult to assess. After all, his bones have been scattered from Turkey to Italy, Germany to Ireland, and other countries that claim to possess them. In other words … from what I’ve gathered information-wise, the fable of Santa is NOT a historically based figure (except to borrow a name and blow a singular, magical act out of context to support commerce) … it’s not based on mythology or legend … and it’s not even a good story for Christmas. In fact, Christmas is not a Christian or Catholic holiday. The churches embrace it for the sake of keeping the public happy and promoting the birth of Christ … but the church did not sanction it (on and off for hundreds of years … later banning it, and so on). Modern Christmas is a culmination of multitudes of pagan celebrations that were combined to create and promote business. In fact, early Christians refused to celebrate it at all! Think about it … Easter is the most important religious holiday for Christ, celebrated for almost 2 full months! It was Christ’s triumph over death … not necessarily his birth, that is the most important fact.
6. Your Traditional Christmas songs … aren’t. Yes, bad grammar, but fully intended. Frosty the Snowman (which mentions nothing of Christmas), was written in 1950 (only 70 years ago), and was quickly coupled with Santa Claus as part of the holiday by Rankin-Bass on television. Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer was published in 1939 by Montgomery Ward … yes … the retail chain. Care to guess why (do I even need to explain this)? Worse – it has some pretty bad messages in it. Santa Claus is Coming To Town is another so-called traditional ‘favorite’, that wasn’t produced until 1934. Although popular today, Grandma and Grandpa would most likely not have even heard this song during their childhood (so much for ‘traditional)! In 1824, the lyrics of Oh Christmas Tree were sung to, and based on, the original Oh Tannenbaum, which referred to an evergreen lasting while faithless lovers left.Yes, a song about love betrayal is the truth behind that wonderful Christmas tree song. And, the list goes on (even my favorite Carol of the Bells … had nothing to do with Christmas). While it’s easy to fall in love with Christmas music … sales motivating tactics are just that – no matter what the source. Ever notice how older, religious songs are used a lot less (or not at all)? That’s because it’s well known that they promote the birth of Christ, and not shopping.
7. December 25th is not a “universal” date. In fact, the modern use of the date was specifically selected for its benefit to big business and population control: The celebration of the pagan sun god, Mithra. We don’t know the date when Jesus is born – except that it didn’t occur in winter. Why? An angel appears to the shepherds watching their flocks to pronounce his birth. Shepherds didn’t keep sheep out during the winter … it was too cold. While it’s good we all have one day we can agree on, the reason December 25th is used is to combine everyone’s desire to stay indoors (which also supported the anti-mob movement of the Saint Nicholas Society); because it is a dark time of year when people didn’t generally go out due to weather (and shouldn’t … as can be demonstrated by historic and current travel problems and related deaths), and didn’t traditionally shop (which is also demonstrated by the reduced sales from January – February that don’t have a holiday to get you outdoors); and, because, it was already a world-wide celebrated pagan day when people were partying and made it easier to break into. Imagine if Christmas was during the summer? Travel would be awesome. But, stores would lose out on those winter sales. So, yes … greed motivated this date (further reinforced by the daylight saving time Congressional change that was designed to create more sales time for stores and NOT to benefit people!!).
8. Leaving cookies and milk for Santa is not a tradition. If you ask commercial producers of goodies, they’ll tell you it’s definitely related to St. Nick … or Germanic origins … or um, Norse Mythology … or … well … the Great Depression?!?! What the HECK? Yes, they’ll tell you anything to buy their goodies. And … you’ll do it. Because, if it’s historical and it’s traditional, then it must be true. And, why would Pillsbury, General Mills, Duncan Hines, or any of those manufacturers of cookie dough tell you a lie? After all … they love you and not your money, don’t they? From the older salmonella concerns to an E. Coli spread during 2016, the cookie dough companies, in fact, don’t love you (sorry). E. Coli is a bacteria that has to grow and requires certain conditions to support that growth. The same is true for salmonella. Why do these things happen? The companies cut budgets, make the CEO’s wealthier, and leave you with literally disease and bacteria ridden garbage (that’s old) to eat on Christmas, threatening you with a DEADLY poison. Yay! Christmas time! Hospitals! Stomach pumping! Hasn’t happened to you, yet? Make sure to put it on your list to Santa!! (Nothing is stopping the food companies from continuing to put inedible and poisoned content in food products, so … well .. maybe something you “might” want to think about).
9. The modern War on Christmas has been raging for at least 200+ years. Christmas, a time-honored tradition that brings anti-secular “hurt feelings” from other faiths who feel “insulted” by decorations, is an annoying side-effect in our modern culture (that’s supposed to be ‘tolerant’). Technically, it’s not Christmas’ fault. It’s the same globalization force that has brought about the LGBT movement, crushed world-wide economies, and motivated terrorists. It has created this hyper-sensitive, hug-needing, emotionally fragile world that demands crosses be removed because it hurts their ‘eyeballs’ <=EXPLETIVE! (Clearly … you know where I stand on the issue). But, setting aside the idiocy of the cultural behavior in America, this is a world-wide war that has only been further aggravated by the modern Christmas. <= You can read the link. I’m not going to get into it. But, frankly, the tension in the world today almost makes Christmas a nightmare. We are forced to bury emotions, build up stress, and quietly suffer indignities while trying to keep the holiday cheerful for a debate that should have been settled TWO HUNDRED years ago! Upon entering retail stores packed with people and high prices … that cheeriness dwindles even further. Thus, the uprising of the internet and on-line shopping. A direct, historical comparison of prices will show you that they have risen online, and all because retailers know the stress you’re under and how to manipulate it … even if it causes you financial depression. From the factory of elves working away to build toys for all the little boys and girls to the onslaught of email bombardments telling you to buy, buy, buy … the current ‘tradition’ of forcing you to endure the stress and spend money is a plague that has been fueled capitalism and continues to drag down out culture with secular discontent! Yay! Happy times!
10. And, finally … you tell your children a lie because it was told to you and identifies whether or not you are a bad parent. Why? The other kids get to celebrate Santa, right? No – not all. In fact, many don’t. Even Christian children living on the streets, homeless, hungry, and scared, don’t get that privilege. It’s easy to pass on to children what your parents gave you, such as telling you to brush twice a day, like you now probably do with your children (albeit neither of you knew that Colgate was putting carcinogenic, hazardous materials into toothpaste). And, nobody wants to let down their children at Christmas time, especially after you, television, commercials, movies, radio, newspaper, school, magazines, twitter, facebook, and even the government tells them. Otherwise, they feel like bad, unloved children, don’t they? (<= that is assuming ‘love’ is actually meaningless … ARGH!). And, you want to be a hero because it’s almost impossible to compete with the internet (although … that never used to be a problem? See a trend happening …??). Of course, there are those people that just outright shove you into a corner and point out how stupid you are for believing that Christmas is a religious holiday and trying to celebrate it without commercialism:
“But the spiritual must start with recognizing reality. Life requires reason, selfishness, capitalism; that is what Christmas should celebrate – and really, underneath all the pretense, that is what it does celebrate. It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.”
YES – THAT IS A REAL QUOTE. That is not sarcasm … that is an actual belief. What the heck is going on? Commercials want you to feel guilty and corporations use your children to do it. They did it to your grandparents, your parents, to you, and will do it to your children. If that above quote does not speak profoundly to the foolishness of what Christmas has become – then you are on the wrong train and heading for derailment.
So, there you have it. Santa Claus is a complete lie with no basis in reality whatsoever – except for an American invention that capitalists around the world have adopted, seeing the epic effects that guilt has had on promoting sales.
Now for my rant. (Yeah … can’t help myself!!).
Your lights (and subsequent power bill), tree, decor, and even those Christmas cookies are a testament to the massive control mechanism that has made … YOU. No – you are not celebrating the season because you want to. You do not fight traffic in stores and on the road, give up and go online to spend more, or suffer the mass of indignities that occur in the frozen cold of winter because it’s “fun.” You want your kids to smile. You don’t want the culture to shun you as a Grinch. And, you’ll do what television tells you to do. Yay! Are you still feeling that warm, fuzziness from before? Or … does reality bring you to the stomach clenching sickness of truth? Hopefully … while not hopefully … it’s the latter.
But, there is hope. Even Charles Schultz, in his famous Peanuts cartoon, shunned the commercialism of the season. It’s simple. Stop killing pine trees and dressing up their corpses for entertainment (sounds terrible when said that way, doesn’t it? But … sometimes … the truth sucks). Stop putting lights on your house to announce to the world that you’re a conformist while convincing children Santa needs those running lights (after all, Montgomery Ward told you he had Rudolph, right?). Embrace the peaceful fellowship of the season, the warmth of happiness of richness in friends and family that has smiled upon you, and instead of flooding to stores to buy their gifts that end up filling landfills, volunteer at a food kitchen. Maybe find time to read a story for children at a hospital. Or, even better, join in as a community and go caroling, help the impoverished, or do “Good Samaritan” acts in your community. After all, if you want to honor Christ’s sacrifice, don’t be a puppet with no free will. Exercise your free agency by doing something good with it and for no thought of personal gain. And for the love of all that’s good – fruitcakes are NOT a gift … they are a joke that has transcended the years being made with flour that has to be recalled due to mass poisoning! Go with Christmas sweaters … no, wait, those suck, too (unless intentionally warn as a joke to see whose is worse). How about, a simple, home made card that shows you cared enough to at least spend two minutes caring? I’m sure the internet is FULL of ideas.
What will your children get from abandoning a commercialized Christmas vs. an over-priced lego set, this year? (Sorry Legos … used to love you … but $30 – $150 for some cruddy set is stealing). They’ll get a sense of helpfulness for others. They’ll know you love them because you wanted them to share in your joy (the ultimate gift as it is filled with 100% sincerity). They’ll feel good about what they’ve done (now and for years to come). And, they can appreciate all the things they do have. Even if they don’t have a lot – maybe you’ll find more time to spend together creating memories that will last a lifetime. A cardboard box and parent shaking it around as you drive around the living room is 1000 times more meaningful, and a 1000 times less annoying, than a video game and isolation! (my opinion only).
Look, I’m not telling you what to do. Television is doing plenty of that. But, you should try to put away false guilt. You have to understand the truth about what you’re told or how else would you be able to make good decisions? If the only thing you ever heard about jumping off a cliff was how good it was … and you didn’t investigate it for yourself or think twice about it … you’d be a lemming floating away in the ocean. And, sadly, many people … are just that – lemmings. Utilities jack up your winter rates – and it’s well known. Stores raise their prices at Christmas and put them on sale just to manipulate you for greed. Would you stand by if a stranger held out an ice cream for your child and told you to pay 10 times its cost or they’ll take it away and hurt your child? I WOULD HOPE NOT. What a crappy thing to do. Yet, that’s what the stores are doing. Do you enjoy guilt? I REALLY hope not! But, again, that’s what the stores are doing (after all, don’t we get enough from our parents?).
It’s never okay to support a lie, even if it brings a smile … otherwise … people learn to lie for happiness – which is a deviant thinking error that leads further down the spiral. Yeah, movies like “Miracle on 34th Street” are fun to watch, but we should watch them in the true spirit they represent. We don’t tell our children that unicorns are real (they believe that on their own). You don’t convince them that Bugs Bunny has been digging his way to Albequrque for the past 50 years. So, why tell them Santa’s real? Or .. better stated:
Why let them believe in the fake, corporate sponsored Santa Clause?
You SHOULDN’T (my opinion only). How about this: Santa IS real. Did you know that? It’s true. Santa is YOU. The kindness of strangers from some religious organizations leave gifts on peoples’ doorsteps with no names – and that’s Santa. Children can wake up and have a wonderful gift with a message about how awesome they were or how hard they tried, and it requires no name – and that’s Santa. It’s about a selfless act. And, it’s about high-time you understand why Christmas feels so good and get to enjoy the credit you deserve vs. allowing stores to take it away from you! See? You CAN be a hero!
Because you are Santa … or at least … you can be. A kind word; a friendly hello; letting someone through in traffic; and helping where it’s good to help; are all ways to be Santa. And, what greater gift to give a child than to teach them the joy of giving? It’s the one time of the year that almost every warring faction puts their weapons down. It’s the one time of the year that people sing for one another, laugh together, and show the kind of spirit that’s lacking the remaining 364 days of the year.
But, it doesn’t have to be the only day of joy. We can have that same feeling all year long!
BE Santa. Be that meek and humble person you want to be. Then, stay home when it’s snowing – not sleeping in airports or risking life and limb for a family get together that would be 1000 times MORE enjoyable during the summer! (Think about it … go ahead … you know … when things go wrong, like Uncle Jack hitting the tequila like a fish and telling secrets that were never supposed to be uttered … harder to go outside in the cold vs. Summer-time, right? See … benefits no matter HOW you look at it!). And, you’d be celebrating the birth of Christ CLOSER to when it happens. Better yet, you can celebrate his sacrifice as the more important aspect of Salvation and put up a cross on that nativity scene and go tell the “hurt feelings” people to go somewhere else ’cause it’s a FREE COUNTRY (supposedly).
This wasn’t intended to ruin Christmas. It was intended to be an eye opener. Believing in something that turns out to be a demonic, child abducting, commercialized, and manipulative character doesn’t just ‘ruin’ Christmas – it’s horrifying. Do you really want to let your children know that you asked them to believe in that? Really? You teach your children not to lie … but unless you truly believe … and you truly have faith in Santa, it is a lie. Maybe, just stick with your deity of choice. After all, they’re kind (well.. mine is), loving, giving, immortal, and represent that best part of humanity that we’re supposed to strive to be … and, they don’t have a factory full of creepy, wanna-be dentist elves working for a Santa who hates kids! Besides, when Americans don’t buy a billion dollars of imported junk, overseas dealers lose out and either have to consider that we’re tired of garbage, tired of high prices, or that some of the jobs DO belong back in the country of origin. That’s not to put America first on this list … but every country should do the same! Supporting a strong, national economy … should always be first.
And, when the power company doesn’t get its $1 billion dollar bonus from your Christmas lights … and you save money … there will be more to spend in January and February and maybe stores will learn that trying to manipulate you was bad. They’re not learning it any other way!
But, if your kids already believe in Santa because it’s what you knew and passed down to them – don’t keep them waiting too long (babies are terrified and after 2 years of age, it’s all downhill as far as ‘be good or no presents 12 months from now’). After all, kids can read the label on the bottom of the toy that states: “Made in Japan.” And, if they ever check out Google maps and see that there’s no North Pole … that’s a whole lotta’ fixin’ you’re gonna’ be left with! Considering what schools are teaching and where they are headed – won’t be long before it’s ruined by the education system, too (along with giving them an overly detrimental exposure of sex education).
Better that we explain it wasn’t a lie for the sake of a lie, but an ideal representation of a superhero, like Superman. That way, when they find out it’s you … YOU’RE SUPERMAN!! (okay, probably not helpful … but best answer I have!). Many people will continue to tell their kids Santa exists long after children stop believing. But – it HAS NOT DONE HARM. AND – DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE. Love – for the sake of love – is NEVER harmful. Unfortunately, we’ve just been going about it the wrong way thanks to the world culture being shaped by a few, elite capitalists (because revealing faith as a lie is harmful to faith of the soul. Even though a belief in magic (by teaching kids to always be young at heart) may pave the way toward faith, even Harry Potter was only a movie!).
It doesn’t stop me from believing in Santa – and I don’t let my child stop believing either. That’s right. After all I’ve told you – we believe in a supreme being who is benevolent, protects children, asks us to be good, wants us to give to others, and who wants us to be happy (and gives us the blessing and joy to afford to surprise others / be Santa, with gifts and no desire of self-reward, no matter how small that blessing is … it’s still a blessing). We just don’t use the threats in the songs or make false impressions about coal in stockings that will never manifest. And, our Santa Clause is an awesome one! (And we can imagine him in any shape or color AND enjoy the seasonal music because we do so in the full knowledge of the truth and are not led like lemmings to the cliffs of capitalism insanity!). Our Santa bears the name, Jesus.
So – you can have your cake and eat it, too! If … you’re smart enough to think it all through.
Merry Christmas! God Bless! (<= Sorry to those who are offended, but that’s my choice of words … feel free to use yours!). And, may you have a safe, warm, honest, and real holiday with a family full of trust, love, peace on Earth, and good will toward men. Up to you. It’s your life! [To the one for whom this is written: Sorry, longest article yet, but lots to say in it].
“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.”
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy.”