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Question: Does Santa bring ALL the presents, or just the one

If I remember correctly, the original person upon whom Santa Claus was based, Saint Nicholas, would put money in shoes outside poor people's houses. Shoe ---> sock, money ---> gifts.

In addition, the presents under MY Christmas tree not only have been being placed there at sporadic intervals for the last few days rather than all at once on Christmas Eve, but they were all clearly labelled "To Luke, Love from Mum and Dad" and other labels of that ilk. None said "From Santa Claus" or even "From Father Christmas". And in fact, I put some of them there with my own two hands. Which I bought with my own moolah, dough, greenbacks, rice krispies, almighty dollars. They certainly weren't put there by any Santa (or his anagram Satan) as far as I know. Of course, if we're going to get into the whole Satan=Santa thing, and anal-yse the commerciality of a modern western Christmas, you could indeed infer that by buying all these THINGS you don't need for people you don't like (or maybe you do like. I just liked the way that sentence sounded), you are in fact doing the work of Satan, therefore Satan=Santa IS indeed putting the presents under the tree. But I digress.

I think it's pretty plain to see from the above evidence that Santa does not in fact bring the "normal" X-mas presents.

But that of course begs the question, why do children sit on Santa's knee, or write to him, or in this day and age call, e-mail or txt him, and ask for things like bikes, trampolines, rollerblades, puppies, PSPs, Game Boy Advances with Pokemon Yellow, and such... things that (with the exception of the last three due to their compact and portable qualities) could not possibly fit into a stocking, and more importantly, don't seem the kind of things that would go in the average stocking where I come from anyway. These children would be much better off asking their parents for what they want than the strange elderly gentleman in the red suit.

In the bigger picture, however, does it not worry you that we are breeding our children into the culture that twice a year they have a day when they can ask for whatever they want and they'll get it? And if they don't get it, they have a legitimate reason for being angry? I mean, Santa is magic after all. Why shouldn't his merry little magical elves be able to build as many iPod Nanos and goodness knows what in their workshop as demand permits? So we have this culture of I WANT, and all that is required to recieve what you want is to be a "good boy or girl", which is really a very weak standard to meet. I mean, think about it. While lumps of coal are oft threatened for bad little boys and girls, have you ever heard of one being given? Or a child being deemed to not have been "good" enough in a given year to be showered with expensive gifts like all the other "good boys and girls"?

I wonder how many of these children actually realise that the majority of boys and girls in the world can only WANT three square meals a day, running clean water, safety from such diseases as malaria and TB? Does Santa ever mention to us first world kids in the lap of luxury that thousands are dying of preventable poverty while we pull Christmas crackers and read out the cheesy puns enclosed inside? (Did you know that all eskimos eat is whale meat and blubber? You'd cry too if all you had to eat was whale meat).

I also think it's safe to say that Santa is given much more credit than he earns. I mean we pretty much worship him, kids do anyway, when really all he brings is enough to fill a sock, or for the more fortunate such as myself, an oversized novelty sock (or pillowcase for the richer still).

Which brings me to my next point. Why does Santa bring more and better presents to the rich kids than the poor ones? Do Santa-believing children actually notice the injustice, or are they too busy gorging themselves on marshmallow-filled chocolate replicas of the great man? I have to say, if I believed in Father Christmas, I wouldn't think much of him.

Believing. It is seen by many in our society as absolutely imperative for all children to believe in Santa Claus for as long as possible. Parents lie to their children, conjuring up images of a jolly fat man with a white beard, a red jacket and, most importantly, a bulging bag of colourfully wrapped consumer artifacts (many larger than would fit in most reasonably-sized Christmas stockings). They may also tell of the existence of an Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy and other such generous mythical figures, but that's not for here.

Some parents buck the trend and tell their kids from the start that he's not real, and that it's really just them that buy the presents and such. I must say I am very grateful that my parents were some of the above (though originally they only told us because my older sister had a chronic fear of the jolly chap). Amazingly, some people actually consider that kids like me have missed out on something. And that it was somehow cruel of my parents to TELL THE TRUTH! What a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook up world we live in, where parents, who are supposed to be their role models of moral behavour, lie to their children, and are considered at best killjoys or at worst mean parents if they tell the truth.

In addition to this, family movies and TV specials about the so-called "true spirit of Christmas" often carry a theme that if you just believe in Santa Claus against all odds, wonderful things will happen. I watched the end of a computer animated Christmas film recently at work (I work for an afterschool kids programme at church) and it was all about a boy who refused to stop believing in Santa. And rather than poking fun of him as it would have if I was the screenwriter, it endorsed his position. At the end - when he'd been returned to normal life - there was a mystery gift under the X-mas tree to little Billy (his name may not have been Billy, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was), and it didn't say who it was from (Hint: Santa). He opened it, and it contained a bell. They discovered that he and his sister could ring it and make a sound, but their parents couldnt. And it ended with a spoken epilogue about how in years to come, eventually there came a year when even his sister couldn't ring the Christmas bell, but he still could, because he carried on believing in ol' Kris Kringle.

It makes me sick.

So does all this sugar and turkey. Ahh, Christmas Confused
Santa is as incarnate as atheism is valid.

Though waking up to money in my shoes would be nice Smile
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