A seasonal and topical debate is just the right accompaniment to the smell of baking cookies, holly and pine trees, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Thanks to Hefficide for proposing the topic, and the ATS Debate Forum for hosting.
Who is Santa Claus, and why is he ruining America?
The impression that most have of the man comes to them courtesy of Coca-Cola, Norman Rockwell and Hallmark, who have engaged in a conspiracy that has
lasted longer than anyone can remember, to hijack one of Christianity's highest festivals, and to replace it with an advertising campaign to sell
sugar water, greeting cards, and cheap Chinese toys.
Jack Chick says that this is pretty serious stuff -- his Fairy Tales tract says that
if you lie to your kid about Santa (as well as the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, et al) you are pretty much turning them into a child murderer. Now, Jack
Chick is a certified loon, but he does make an (accidental, one presumes) point about honesty -- every child who is assured that Santa is real by
their parent will eventually learn that their parents lie to them, and this is clearly not model behaviour.
Speaking of serious stuff, what about all of those elves? Forbes Magazine, while naming Santa Claus #1 wealthiest on their Fictional Fifteen list,
essentially accuses Santa of treating his employees as
slaves. Criticism of that, combined with the overpopulation of The Island of Misfit Toys due to elven errors, are likely factors in Santa's
decision to outsource toy production to sweatshops in China, Bangladesh and Taiwan.
But on a personal level, consider your own youth… all you really wanted that year was an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range
Model Air Rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time, but your pro-gun control mother adamantly refused to even consider such a
So you turned in desperation to Santa Claus -- the jolly old elf could hardly refuse a request from someone who'd been as good as you had been that
year. But instead of a shiny Red Ryder Air Rifle, you got a boot to the face, an anti-gun rant, and the suggestion that maybe you'll get a
But Christmas morning… who comes through? THE OLD MAN! Your dear old Dad delivers the goods, tells your anti-Second Amendment mother to shut her pie
hole, and sends you into the back yard to shoot squirrels or Black Bart or something.
And that's the way that it really is. Mom or Dad does the shopping, this fictitious icon of crass commercialism gets the credit.
In an age of an epidemic of youth obesity, no small amount of blame can be laid at the feet of the fat man from the North Pole, assuming that one can
find said feet. Subsisting on a diet of milk and cookies, at least on Christmas Eve, we can run the numbers to see the degree of overeating he
According to the Census Bureau, in 2010, there were 114,235,996 households in the United States
(Source). The Pew Forum says that about
75% of the population is Christian, so about 85,676,997 households celebrate Christmas. Four
ounces of skim milk is 44 calories, and two small sugar cookies are 132 calories, for a total of 176. Multiplied by the number of Christian
households, we see Santa pigging down over fifteen BILLION calories in one night. At 3,500 calories per pound gained, we can see that Santa puts on
4.3 million pounds in one night.
One hopes that he's wearing stretch pants. Well, maybe not, and that's one image I can't take away now, sorry.
I grudgingly agree that Santa Claus does provide one tangible good -- the soon to be bankrupt United States Postal Service likely sees a good profit
in collecting stamp revenue for undelivered "letters to the North Pole".
Beyond that, nothing. American marketers have used Santa Claus to destroy a sacred holiday that celebrates the real gift that we all have received --
the unconditional love of God. It is beyond ironic that one of the core messages of Christ is completely counter to the core message that Santa has
been trotted out to deliver, that happiness is found in the material goods that you beg others, even fictional others, to pleasure you with.