Santa the Christmas Charlatan

Santa Claus is not who you think he is, nor who he presents himself to be. This analysis exposes the red-coated man for who he really is.

As children get older they begin to ask questions about Santa and other children, leaving parents to explain the situation. Sometimes the answer is quite imaginative. Such was the case years ago when our oldest, Lauren, became inquisitive.

Learning that many poor children don’t receive presents on Christmas, Lauren asked my mother, her Granny, why Santa doesn’t deliver gifts to them. Of course, it’s not because they are bad children: being rich or poor doesn’t make a child bad or good. Granny responded with an interesting explanation: poor children didn’t receive any gifts because their parents didn’t have the money to give Santa to provide the presents. You see, parents help Santa by paying into the program that allows him to deliver the gifts; reindeer don’t eat for free, and it cost money to make the toys. So those who can’t pay into the program don’t get any gifts.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, originally published December 17, 1987.

To our young daughter’s mind this made perfect sense. However, that turns Santa into a con artist, an investment fraud, a huckster, a holiday schemer. Santa is a Christmas charlatan! If you want to get the goods, pay into the program. Can’t pay into the program, then you get no gifts. Based on the story Lauren heard, Santa would be Bernie Madoff’s holiday hero!

For all the children who may read this, I’m pretty sure the “pay-into-the-program” method is not how it works. There are things in this world that we cannot explain, things we call mysteries. For example: how do reindeer fly? What holds the sleigh in the air? How does a big, fat Santa fit down tiny chimneys? How does one man visit billions of homes all over the world in a single night? I don’t know how these can be possible. Sometimes there are things we can’t explain, but we still believe.

So parents and children alike — don’t worry about what we can’t understand. Just have faith that somehow it all works the way it’s supposed to work. We call that faith. The same goes for Jesus, too. How can he be fully God and fully man? How can he raise from the dead? How did he go up into heaven on a cloud? How can Jesus save his own enemies? I can’t explain these things — they are mysteries. But I can, and do, have faith anyway. I believe Jesus paid for my sins, rose from the grave, and loves me. I deserve punishment, but Jesus gives me love and salvation instead because he took my punishment for me. If you believe that, you will be saved!

When it comes to Santa, though, don’t worry about how it works out, just have faith that it does. Rather, be the best father, mother, son, or daughter you can be — because Santa Claus is watchin’ you.

About John L. Rothra
Stay Updated

This Post Has One Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I’m Here to Help You

I want to help you and your church know, show, and share the gospel of Jesus!

Having been involved with churches of various sizes—from small rural churches to urban megachurches—I offer my experience and education to you.

Schedule me to speak or to be a guest on your podcast or YouTube channel.