Coming home for the holidays is always a perfect opportunity for introspection. One uninterrupted week off from school right before the chaotic finale of the not only the semester, but the year itself. Lacking this short pre-Thanksgiving break was glaringly noticeable in hindsight. I, for one, felt immense peace of mind in allowing myself to take the necessary time to digest the whirlwind of a semester I’m sure many of us had. Concluding my stay in the ripped out of a catalog, nautical-themed suburb I call home, my family and I purchased a Christmas tree. On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving (Thanksgiven, as I like to call it). It was that proceeding Saturday that we decided to decorate, and it was our potential inability to be with each other without distraction that led us to playing The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen in the midst of adornment. Nevertheless, the movie was decent. It’s a classic for a reason, a little cut and dry, but a charming yet inoffensive holiday movie with “just enough appeal for the whole family,” the kind of stuff to make you feel stagnant yet protected. However, I couldn’t help feeling this lingering sensation while I half watched, half cyberbullied my friends on twitter. Why do we feel the need to lie to kids about Santa Claus?
The Santa Clause is a movie mostly dedicated to explaining the inner workings of Santa and his workshop of minors pretending to be thousands of years old to justify Tim Allen flirting with them. But after taking in the plot that answers the age-old question on the validity of Santa Claus, I simply don’t understand the purpose of reaffirming the numerous suspicions a child may have regarding Santa just for them to discover the ugly truth eventually. Even though movies with this kind of plot consistently end with telling children that the overweight Caucasian man of their dreams is a real person, they always address the endless plot holes of Santa’s regime. Flying reindeer? Reaching hundreds of millions of children worldwide in a single night? Being able to drink that much milk and not have to stop every three houses to violently shit out the cookies that accompanied it? Especially at that age, these questions and more are far too incredulous.
Maybe I’m a curmudgeon because I found out Santa is a hoax at age 7 from inquiring a little too hard about his validity, I have found the way in which popular culture plays into the narrative of Santa as a genuine, pooping homo erectus to be a little unnerving. I for one, never visited a mall Santa as an autonomous child but I can’t fathom the idea of children having the utmost confidence that the man that sits before them is the Bonafede Mr. Claus himself. Not to mention one of the earlier scenes showing Tim Allen’s character telling his son, “[S]ometimes believing in something means you– means you just believe in it.” What? I hope I’m not the only one who feels that this response to a child is absolutely asinine. Imagine someone potentially mistaking this message as a means to rationalize their homophobia by perpetuating the spirit of tradition through the spirit of Christmas and organized religion’s precedence in our every day lives. I might be projecting on that one, but I at least hope I am not the problem for believing children should not be disillusioned into believing Santa is real.
The nail in the coffin is status Santa Claus has on not only Western society, but general popular culture as a whole. Up there with the other Christmas figure whose name I’m completely blanking on. You could make a religion out of this, and if you’re a little slutty capitalistic pig, you basically did. Seriously though, Santa might as well be the Jesus of the economic world, ignoring the people who need help the most and benefiting the people who deserve it the least one time a year, bringing chaos of all levels to every person in some way or another. There is a terrifying narrative expected to be held up in society as well, unfortunately, creating the myth of a creature that is capable of bringing joy to all when the reality to so many is quite the opposite. Blackmailing parents everywhere into annually exceeding their children’s already astronomical expectations through endless gifts and rewards without truly earning it is quite the frightening cultural norm, especially in a place with more poverty than Land Before Time movies. I know I joked about Santa being white earlier, but it is genuinely disheartening to see years of iconography and character creation by white artists that would consistently perpetuate white people as the norm establish such deep roots in our culture for centuries now. It may seem like an overemotional criticism of Santa Claus but the standard for any mythical entity has always been white. From Star Wars to Game of Thrones, minorities are consistently sidelined for keeping tradition, despite being fictional worlds. Regardless of the reality of the situation, watching The Santa Clause was an experience that brought many issues to my attention that deserved some extra introspection this holiday season. Who is Santa Claus? What is it that he represents in our society that may potentially enable the largest lie ever told to so many people at once, maybe it is fitting that he exists during the Christmas Season after all. What’s important is having some perspective on the meanings of the holidays. When all of the bells and whistles are stripped away from the superficiality of the most dramatic birthday party to exist, focus on the moments of clarity. Joyous points in this time of year that are worthy of savoring. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. AND SCENE. [ALL SINGING “HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING”] Directed by Q. McGotty