Dear Plato,

A little slow here, but I meant to get back to your post. When I was in art school, I had to research the history of American Santa, French Pere Noel, English Father Christmas, German der Weihnachtsmann, Netherlands’ SinterKlaas etc… and remember him being an agent of social control. Not an AGENT from Shield, but a figment of imagination that was exaggerated from Saint Nicholas. A pretty nice guy in the scheme of Saints.

The patron Saint of children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, brewers, and the list goes on and on. Yeah, here I go, speaking from both sides of my mouth once again.

Santa Claus in America has nothing to do with Saint Nicholas. There is the anonymous gift giving in a stocking and that is about it. That’s only because Saint Nicholas anonymously gave coins to a poor family that had three girls who would be treated as prostitutes if they did not have a dowry for each girl when she became of age. One of the girls had hung up her stocking to dry at the hearth, but Saint Nicholas has stories of him hiding money in shoes, throwing it through windows, down chimneys…

Over time, the other versions of Saint Nick, de Weinachtsmann came with a stick, lump of coal, dogs (or other mean spirits) to keep good behavior popular or a beating would occur instead of an anonymous gift arriving.

It’s pretty hard to swirl it all together in a hodgepodge of cultural figments. He dresses differently across the world (wears green, blue robes, carries a staff.) Saint Nicholas was a Greek Christian Bishop in 270AD, but in the US he has has nothing to do with religion what so ever.

He was a (short) jolly old elf who did smoke a pipe because of Thomas Nast, a woodcut artist who worked for Harper’s Weekly in 1881, William Gilley and Clement Clarke Moore, storytellers in 1821 and 1822 added that he drove a chariot with toys to deliver, plus the names of the reindeer.
Our dear American juggernaut culture turned him into a six foot tall obese man wearing a red hat and poof, children get to be confused by Santa hanging out in malls all over the country as well as on street corners ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. We pushed Christianity to get rid of any pagan beliefs without taking away the pine tree, we even put a star on top of it.

Please notice, I did not mention Grace at all, cause you did a great job of explaining how it has nothing to do with Santa Claus either.

We never spread the lie of Santa to my kids. I specifically told them not to burst the bubble of kids who believed in Santa at school that would be cruel like shooting the tooth fairy. (Honestly, we let them believe in the tooth fairy. Why does she pay for teeth? and now she passes out 5 dollar bills, Wha? She charges like a dentist.) My parents let us watch the stories on TV, but we knew our parents spent their hard earned money buying things on layaway, like a bicycle that had to be put together (including what seemed like 100 screws) on Christmas Eve.

Love you too, I went off on a tangent once again, Happy Holidays!


Any thoughts on the above post are appreciated! Otherwise, I think I must be living under a rock.

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