A professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame says that Santa Claus actually “hurts Christmas.”
Dr. Candida Moss wrote an op-ed for the Daily Beast in which she argued Santa represents only the consumer side of Christmas and bares no resemblance to the St. Nicholas of history.
“Mr. Claus is just about the worst thing to happen to Christianity,” she wrote. “We make kids believe in a fat man who hands out gifts unfairly and makes out with mom, and then ask them to believe in Jesus. Right.”
If Santa Claus is a fabrication that gets top billing with Jesus, Moss believes kids eventually come to believe Jesus Christ is also a fabrication.
“The reason why Christian parents should be especially concerned about Santa is that he is so closely linked to Christmas and the birth of Jesus,” Moss told TheBlaze in an email. “Children see them as part of the same package. When they find out Santa isn’t real, there’s a risk they think of Jesus in the same way.”
Moss says the Santa-myth doesn’t even make kids more obedient.
“The pay-off of North Pole espionage is supposed to be that good children get presents while bad children get coal in their stockings,” Moss wrote.
“Except it doesn’t work. Any five-year-old can see that rich naughty children are pulling down more than their fair share of the gifts,” she added.
Moss noted a vicar in the UK who was recently made to apologize after he told children that Santa Claus isn’t real and possibly spoiling Christmas by telling them stories about the real St. Nick.
“Christian parents want to be careful to distinguish between the Jesus story and the Santa myth in some concrete ways,” she told TheBlaze. “Christmas can still be magical without telling lies.”
“Santa Claus is depicted as many things: the morbidly obese ruddy face of Coca-Cola (there’s truth in advertising after all), an above-the-law industrialist with scant regard for elvish workers rights or producing counterfeit goods, and history’s most generous home invader,” she wrote. “The truth is he’s not real, he’s not fair, and you shouldn’t leave him alone with your Mom.”