ASLaN Society Blog
ASLaN Home
St. Nicholas Literary Page

The 2001 ASLaN Christmas Commentary .

Stop the Santamania!

Now that the annual Santamania blitzkrieg is in full swing, I say it's time to resist the propaganda and banish "The Claus" from Christmas.

Millions around the world will celebrate the true St. Nicholas’ feast day this December 6th, but don’t count on Coca-Cola or Hollywood to remind you of that. Thanks to generations of sentimentalism, shrewd merchandising, and militant secularism, we've come to worship a new, mythological idol.

Little is said about it, but there’s a growing number of Americans who very honestly are sick and tired of Santa. We have varying beliefs but increasingly we reject the insanity of what the beloved Saint Nicholas has become.

I’m not advocating the stupidity and futility of Santa banishment by government fiat a la the Kensington, MD town council. But to even challenge Saint Claus brands one a heretic in American life. Honestly, can you name any other persona that gets such sacrosanct treatment from our press?

Unfortunately, those who won’t bow to the great and mighty Claus are slandered as cold-hearted Scrooges by copywriters and soccer Moms alike. We get heaps of coal dumped on us for daring to challenge the worldwide Santa machine.

So label me a "Grinch," but I hate Santa. I'd like to see him banished from his throne in suburban malls, sued for consumer and historical fraud, and exiled to Siberia. He won’t escape from there because many Russians, like many Europeans, are also seriously offended by his cultural imperialism.

But I love the original 4th Century St. Nick, like many Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants, and believe a renewed respect for him is something our culture needs. If that makes me a humbug, I’m in good company.

Consider what the Worldwide Anglican Communion declared last December when they launched the St. Nicholas Society:

"The cult of Father Christmas [what the Brits call Santa] is now so strongly established that there are children who actually think that he is the central figure in the Christmas story...We now feel it is time for Father Christmas to get out of his elf's costume and back into his religious robes."

"I applaud the notion of restoring the historical identity of the great gift-giver who was the bishop St Nicholas," added the very Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey. "He and his legend epitomize Christian sacrifice, generosity and compassion."

O, but this would not do for the purveyors of our products whose slogan might as well be "There is no god but Mammon, and Santa is his profit." No, we wouldn't want to inject any religion into a holiday like Christmas now, would we?

I can sympathize with Jewish people of an older generation who think it's sad how Santamania has influenced the simple joys of Hanukkah, with December’s keeping-up-with-the-goyim disease as the expensive result. It's also a tragedy because the increasing homage to the Divine-like Claus through globalization also diminishes people's knowledge of the great events of Jewish history, including Jesus' birth in Judea.

Atheists may not want Christ back in X-mas, but some would like to excommunicate Santa from it, and I say Amen. So would Karl Marx.

Like many atheists, I think it borders on the repulsive that so much is spent on so little by so many at this time of year, while the needs of the world's poor and oppressed for peace and justice don't often make it to the top of our wish lists. I agree that lying so ardently to our children and ourselves about Santa's magical realm is detrimental to our moral health and sanity.

Sure, American's donate generously to the Salvation Army and many great and worthy causes during this season of light. We also give gifts to our loved-ones and save jobs and stimulate the economy by so doing. Hey, God's all in favor of giving, so hip-hip-hooray for that!

But when have you seen this quote from the birthday boy on a Hallmark card: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

With the refugee crisis in Afghanistan getting some attention, it is good to reflect that Matthew reveals to us a holy family as refugees fleeing murder and persecution with nothing -- except love and what fit on a donkey. Jesus had no Cadillac, nor sleigh.

The new and improved by Madison Avenue Claus has become such an obnoxious icon to the Self that he bears false witness to the thin and virtuous bishop from Turkey who served the poor and preached Christ. Even non-believers can see this is an historical and theological abomination.

Sorry, Virginia, but Santa Claus is a fraud. It’s time to bring back Saint Nicholas into the imagination of our children and culture and to put Santa on a long winter's fast.

Have a MARY Christmas and a very Saint Nicholas New Year!

Sinter Knicker, sintknicker [at] aslansoc [dot] org , founded the Anti-Santa Love-NIcholas Society in 1994 while living in northern China.

-- end --

Further References:

@ Anti-Santa Image found at Anti-Santa Liberation Army

@ "Die Santa Die" -- A Mother's frustration with Santa

@ C.S. Lewis on Christmas – The original ASLaN lover.

@ World Anglican Communion St. Nicholas Campaign

@ Will the Real Santa Please Stand Up? Christmas reflection by
two Orthodox Christians from Portland, Oregon.