The Problem with Santa Claus

7:39 AM

I've met many bell-ringers in my lifetime -- the freezing ones, who are always desperate to wish you Merry Christmas as you walk past with chin tucked in coat; the grumpy ones, whose personalities seem particularly acclimated for cold; the plain ones, who you feel sorry enough for to convince your mother that she has spare change. They all wear Santa hats and they almost always are women, in my experience, though I'm home-body enough to not know much about bell-ringing trends.

But I still found it fascinating when I met her. She was not a bell-ringer; I can't say what she was, other than a very heavy-set, jolly-looking lady with frizzy white hair and bright cheeks. We stood by the chocolate Santa display, I minding my own chocolate business. That's when she burst out: "I'm sick of it!"

I looked up. I don't put much faith in the normalcy of normal people, normally, but anybody would look up quick to hear a jolly-looking woman get sick by the chocolate Santa display. She saw me staring at her -- that's my worst fear: people catching me staring at them -- and she gestured to the display.

"You see that?"

I did.

"Santa, Santa, Santa -- jolly old fellow with white beard and red jumpsuit. You see him everywhere. And his elves -- everywhere."

(I'd met the type before.)

"You kids are growing up brainwashed," she told me. "You see that?"

I very much did.

"It's sexist. The holidays -- it's a patriarchal scheme of oppression against nice girls like you. You ever see a stereotypical elf as a female? And Santa -- Santa, Santa, Santa. Millions of nice girls are growing up brainwashed that the only gift-giving spirit of the season is a fat old man."

"There's Mrs. Claus," I felt compelled to say.

"Mrs. Claus!" (I felt her urgency for an AED about now.) "Mrs. Claus! The biggest lie of them all! A domestic red-robed old woman in a cap, fattening up her husband, tottering about the Christmas castle in house slippers and baking cookies for the hundreds of male elves working in the shop. Mrs. Claus never made any of those toys, you can bet that. She stayed by the fire and knit candy cane striped stockings. So far, so far," she groaned, "we came so far, only to be defeated by Christmas of all things!"

"Well, I don't know about conspiracies," said I.

"No?"

"It's just a legend, anyway. Some legends have to have males, don't you think?"

"Don't I! Modern literature has feminized the traditionally male -- " Her jolly cheeks had flushed redder. It was clear she knew me for what I was and took me for it. "I won't quit my cause until I see children in every town climbing on the knee of a female Santa Claus. You raise your eyebrows at me. The very fact that you see the idea as odd proves your lack of vision. And why shouldn't there be a female Santa Claus? Who's to stop the Woman who worked her way up to financing the mall, building the mall, owning the mall and shopping at the mall from being the Santa Claus in the mall? It's the thin-minded who oppose it. It's the fearful man-worshipers who put the twisted in it. It isn't unnatural."

"But I can't see it as becoming very popular. Santa seems pretty stuck in his gender."

"That's what everyone said about women presidents, women bus drivers, women business owners -- and look where we are, look where we've progressed. I'm telling you, you need to join the revolution now, or you will be left in the cold of a Christmas fifty years from now when a woman will be the jolly old girl herself and her Mr. Claus the domestic be-capped doormat baking cut-out cookies in the kitchen."

"I can see it," I said prudently. "Have you applied to the nearest mall?"

"Yes. Yes, I have. Turned down every single time, but I won't stop. Let that be a lesson to you, young lady," and she looked me in the eye: "you can do whatever you set your mind to. Merry Christmas."

I said my Merry Christmas back as she heaved her way out of doors past the Santa-hatted bell-ringer. Then I turned to the jolly old man wrapped in foil and packaged in Christmas colors. Poor old man, I couldn't help thinking. I would never look at him the same way again.

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10 impressions

  1. Santa is as stuck in his gender as christians are stuck in pagan christmas. There is NOTHING about this time of year that G-d could even remotely find pleasing...If you study, you will see that there is something wrong with every little part of it, not just wrong, but just horrible! Was is the WORST of it all is that we have been deceived! And we don't even care!

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  2. This conversation sounds oddly familiar. Against her cause, there supposedly was a person that modeled Santa Clause. Back in (I think) Turkey, there was a man that did something and became famous for it and I think his name was Nicholas Clause or something of the sort and from him we have St. Nick, or Santa Clause. This is only stuff I've learned in public school and from television so don't really believe a word of it, but if it's true, her idea is a poor one. Eventually, people would lose sight of the historical reason we have this person (as if they hadn't already).

    All in all, he's still a bunch of bologna. However, I personally feel that jolly old St. Nick should continue to be jolly old St. Nick, not jolly old St. Nicki.

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  3. I nearly thought that was real for a moment. You scared me. ;)

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  4. I know this doesn't apply to your post, but your new profile picture is absolutely amazing. I really like it.

    Female Santa? - *Clears throat* I thought the male one was bad enough.

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  5. Hehe! That's hilarious - a rabid feminist bent on feminizing Santa... How out-there can you get?

    We actually don't do Christmas at all, something that makes the average Christian run for the hills when they find out. :D It's basically because so many pagan traditions are behind December 25, and Jesus was not born on a cold night in the winter anyway, but sometime in the spring. The shepherds wouldn't have been out in the fields in the dead of winter. :D

    We ARE very glad Jesus was born, of course, and we're glad for it every day. My parents didn't see the need to celebrate it on a day that has so many other awful things associated with it. :D

    What makes me sad is that even though we tell people that we don't mind if they do Christmas, they still get mad. *sigh* :P

    Anyhow, that's my 2 cents. :)
    ~Julia

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  6. Since we're off topic, let me just say that it doesn't bother me at all that some Christians choose not to celebrate Christmas nor does it bother me that some Christians do. What bothers me is when Christians blow up over something nonessential to Christianity and not even explicitly commanded in Scripture either way.

    Some ate meat sacrificed to idols and some did not. That was a matter of conscience.

    Some celebrate a holiday that Christianized certain pagan elements and some do not. It's a matter of conscience too.

    For the record, I celebrate Christmas and find it very God-glorifying, not because I haven't studied the roots or haven't cared about paganism in the church. I simply disagree.

    Now back to female Santa Clauses...

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  7. Pah! This is funny, Bailey! It's true in many ways, the sexualization of female elves. The boys drool over the teenage gifts in short mini elf skirts, skinny and cute while Santa get the glory in all his manly-fatness. Haha... never thought of it before like this. I wrote a post about Santa too...

    http://unplugyourfamily.blogspot.com/2011/12/santa-claus-lie.html

    xo
    Cass @ The unplugged family

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  8. Anyone ever seen the Charlie Brown Christmas special? Apparently people ARE pushing for 'Samantha Claus!' LOL
    (Does that mean the Great Pumpkin is real, too?:) )
    I think that's pushing feminism to the extreme...Males most certainly have their place, as do females-feminists get quite offended when men take THEIR place, but take men's places without a second thought.
    -Alex
    PS....I have a new blog- wwww.bigsistersbigfamilies.blogsot.com

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  9. Oh my....I'm sorry, but I think Santa Claus should stay...well, uh good old Mr. Claus. I'm sorry, but I cannot see ANYONE (even many femminist) accepting a female Santa Claus. Even though we really don't "celebrate" Santa Claus, we don't ignore him altogether.

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  10. I have never even thought of a female Santa Claus. I don't beleive in that sord of thing, because it extracts from the whole reason of the holiday, which is celebrating Jesus' birth. But, I cannot imagine a woman in a Santa suit. I think it is just plain wrong.

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