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POP CULTURE -The People vs. Father Christmas, AKA Santa Claus

By: Chris Sweeney

Whatever festival of light you celebrate (or don’t), no one can ignore Santa Claus or, as he is known in England, Father Christmas. My question: does everyone hate Santa Claus these days?

Santa is an amalgam of pagan and Christian traditions – what the hip amongst us know as a Mash-Up – and there is apparently something for everyone to dislike.

In the Netherlands he is accompanied by Black Peter who punishes bad kids by putting them in a sack. Christians find him too secular and secularists (and people of other faiths) find him too religious. And what’s with those elves’ working conditions? PETA has probably launched a complaint about the reindeer. He is too fat, nutritionists argue. Too commercial, a puppet of Coca-Cola, others cry. Has anyone noticed that Santa is an anagram of SATAN?!?

Cut the dude some slack. He works his butt off in the far north under difficult conditions with only some elves for companionship. All that so for one 24-hour period he can deliver presents to children. While I hear that some men’s magazines suggest lonely women wait for Santa wearing only their Christmas stockings to give him a little Christmas spirit, he really doesn’t get much for his troubles. Why does he go through with it?

I dislike all the greed, commercialism and expectations that come with Christmas. But lying around in my PJs watching my kids open their presents on Christmas morning makes the rest of the crap worth it.

I have a good relationship with my wife and kids, but there are lots of dads out there who don’t see their kids as much as they’d like or have the kind of relationship they want. For some of them it’s easier to just give up as they don’t seem to get much for their efforts. Our society promotes self-interest and juvenile reactions to adversity and lack of gratitude.

Maybe the paternal selflessness of Santa can show another way. Here’s to all fathers who work hard to provide for their children with the only reward being the happiness on their little faces.

Christopher Sweeney is a chauffeur, short order cook, quartermaster, frontline medic, and laundryman – i.e. a stay-at-home dad. He is also a graphic novelist, screenwriter, lawyer and university lecturer. Check out more Pop Culture pieces on his blog: popculture-superdad.blogspot.com

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