The Real Story of St. Nicholas and the True Meaning of Christmas

When I wandered into the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor recently, a special showing of Miracle on 34th Street dampened my Christmas spirit. I plopped down in one of the old theater’s restored Beaux Arts seats during the scene where Santa explains The True Meaning of Christmas to a Macy’s janitor. Santa launches into a … Continued


Can Santa Claus Survive Our Hi-Tech Age?

With a wave from his sled at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa Claus has come to towns across America. Belief in Santa continues to thrive, despite the internet spoiling the myth for children everywhere far more efficiently than “that kid” ever could. Even so, the fear of technology destroying Santa Claus is a concern for … Continued


Why You Shouldn’t Lie to Your Kids About Santa Claus

When my father was a little boy, he told his brother that he was excited for Christmas because Santa was coming. His brother called him an idiot, spelling it out clearly: “Santa isn’t real.” My dad ran to his mom and asked tearfully, “Is Santa real?” She looked into his innocent eyes and told him … Continued


The Fat-Shaming Santa Was Right

Nothing says “Christmas in modern America” quite like a good, old-fashioned fat-shaming controversy! From “A mom says her son was left in tears after being fat-shamed by a Santa in their town of Forest City, North Carolina.” Say what? “Ashley Mayse says she and her son, nine-year-old Anthony, were just enjoying a holiday event … Continued


Is the Santa vs. Jesus Game Blasphemous?

After the runaway success of a game that celebrates bad taste and dark humor (Cards Against Humanity), it’s hardly a surprise that religion would find itself the target of game designers. And what better figures to serve as inspiration than the two most representative of the season of giving: Jesus and Santa? Kickstarter helped game … Continued


The Magic of Believing in Santa Claus

I was raised Catholic and educated by Quakers, but as a child, my real devotion was to the Church of Santa Claus. At home, my Catholicism was mostly cultural, the kind of legacy birthright that came standard-issue for South Jersey kids in the 1980s. We went to church on Christmas and Easter and, occasionally, during … Continued


Should You Tell Your Kids that Santa Isn’t Real?

When my children were little (ages four and six), I remember having a conversation with the husband of a good friend; it was right before Christmas. He was one of those earnest anti-capitalist types, the sort that tries to hide their obsession with money. Anyway, we were talking about Santa, and the husband’s decision to … Continued

Culture, Parenting

Big Brother on the Shelf

He sees you when you’re sleeping He knows when you’re awake He knows if you’ve been bad or good So be good for goodness’ sake. There’s always been a not-so-subtle undercurrent of parental scrutiny to the lyrics of the upbeat and irresistible sing-along “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” but one professor believes that a popular but … Continued

Books, Culture

Is it Time to Retire Santa?

I remember the moment my childhood best friend told me over the telephone that Santa wasn’t real. “Are you sure?” I recall asking as I gripped the mouthpiece more closely and looked around to make sure no one in my family was privy to the conversation. “Yes, my sister told me. Santa is not real.” … Continued


Long Live the Santa Claus Legend

During childhood road trips my mother would tell me that her father told her that the “Falling Rock” signs on the side of the road were placed by a Native American man who had lost his son of that name.  I was encouraged to keep an eye out that I might be the one to … Continued

Culture, Parenting