To be more specific, the myth of Santa Claus is harmful. The notion that there is some unbiased third party doling out gifts purely on merit is excruciatingly harmful. Because it is a lie.
For many people, it is a harmless lie. A little shared mythology that you tell to children to try to encourage them to be better.
Those people don’t have to explain to children why Santa likes the rich kids better. Worse, why Santa likes the naughty rich kids better.
The truth is better. Someone cared enough about you to get you a gift, and this was a gift they could afford. Yeah, it sucks that good kids get little while there are entitled little monsters with more presents than they know what to do with. Welcome to the world.
I’ve said it before, the world isn’t fair.
You, the back, stop yelling “Scrooge”. I heard you the first time. Let me finish.
There is a flip to that. It’s on us to make it fair. Or at least, to make it better.
Because while the myth of Santa Claus is harmful, actually being Santa Claus is amazing. And I’m not just saying that because I’m aging into the Santa Claus phenotype.
Right now, if you are in the United States, I guarantee that there are lots of people trying to make sure that we can get presents (and nice presents, good presents, not the regifted chips and salsa bowl that no one has wanted for the last 15 years) to both children and adults who can’t otherwise afford it. There are large organizations running toy drives. There are gift trees in conjunction with local charities, trying to line up wishes with helpers.
Hell, I live on a small rural island, and I’m aware of two different efforts, one which matches specific families with people who can afford to help, and another which is in the process of setting up a “store” (no money required) of gifts so that people in need can come in and pick the right present to give their loved ones.
So if you can (and I stress, if you can afford to, don’t hurt yourself out of guilt here), I’m here to tell you that being Santa is a balm for the soul. Each gift really is doubled. Once for the recipient, who gets something nice in what is, to be fair, a pretty shitty decade. And once for the person who gets to present it to them, and who doesn’t have to dread explaining why there isn’t anything nice for them to give this year.
We can’t fix everything. But everyone can help fix something.
And I fucking love being Santa Claus.