Does Santa need a makeover? Are kids ready for a penguin Santa? That's what Slate writer Aisha Harris suggests in her recent post Santa Should Not Be a White Man Anymore.
Ms. Harris describes her childhood experiences with Santa. She grew up with two versions: 1) The big bellied, rosy cheeked, white bearded jolly man on T.V., at the mall and at her school and 2) A big bellied, rosy cheeked, white bearded jolly man at home. Except he had dark skin.
When young Aisha asked about the difference, her father said that Santa was "every color" and adapted to each home he visited.
She goes on to suggest a makeover, proposing Santa morph into something all children can relate to like a penguin.
Over at Fox news host Megyn Kelly put a panel together to discuss the article:
A couple of thoughts:
1) We all have our own version of Santa, don't we?
As a Christian parent of young children, Santa is a conundrum. As much as I try to keep the focus on Jesus the only man I see more often than Santa Claus is Ron Burdundy. I've tried to dance around the Santa story many times though my three-year-old seems to spot EVERY Santa within a ten mile radius. My now teenage son was pretty scared at one point thinking about an old, fat man breaking into our house. My six-year-old wondered why Santa was smoking in the Macy's parking lot (smoking bad, Santa good). And yes, I got caught eating the cookies one year.
As for me growing up, on Christmas morning we'd hear my Dad yell "goodbye Santa" followed by the front door slamming shut. We then ran downstairs and heard my Dad exclaim, "You just missed him." Find that version in your local bookstore.
2) Some are upset at the attempt to create more fiction around a fictional character. I say lighten up. Yes, Santa is based on St. Nicholas, but today's version looks nothing like the original St. Nick. The saint was real, the legend largely fiction. I appreciate Ms. Harris' description of childhood imagery, the feelings unique to her environment and, I imagine, to her faith.
What do you teach you kids about Santa Claus? Thank you for reading. I would enjoy hearing from you in the comments section and would love it if you like us on Facebook.
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