“Why does Santa not give presents to poor people?”

This is the question my oldest son (“Boba”) asked me yesterday. I had been teasing him that he was only getting an apple and an orange for Christmas and reminded him that some people — poor people without any food! — would be happy to get just that. (You see, the little blighter knows he’s getting some good kit — the coolest r/c car I’ve ever seen, for one — and I just wanted to deflate his certainty.)

Then he dropped the question. Until yesterday I thought Santa-haters were freaks who had had bad childhoods. Now I have decided that Santa must die. I told Boba I would answer his question today. Today he finds out that the reason why Santa only gives presents to people with money is because Santa = mum, dad, and grandpa.


  1. Jonathan Green says:

    Yeah, well, it could be worse. ‘Round here, most people tell their kids that the Christkind brings presents, thanks to a bright idea Martin Luther got back in the 16th century. So how’d you like to answer your kid’s question if the Christ Child is real? Also, the classic representation of the Christkind is dressed in a flowing white gown with gold crown, adolescent, and female.

  2. Revealing the identity of Santa is only the first step. The more complete answer is that mom, dad and grandpa (not his, the poor kids’) are too lazy to go work and earn some real money.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    you bastard.

  4. Santa is a Zoramite.

  5. Aaron Brown says:

    In all seriousness, when my mother first told me there was no such thing as Santa Claus, I told her that I had suspected as much all along. She asked me why. I told her that it just didn’t make any sense that Santa brought me presents every year, yet didn’t seem to find time to bring gifts to all the poor kids in the world.

    Of course, the fact that the fat bastard couldn’t instruct his elves to build me a model of that cool spaceship from Battle of the Planets (“G-Force”) also helpled push me into disbelief.

    Aaron B

  6. :'(

    Santa is real, people! He just asks us to help, and we don’t do a very good job of it, is all. You think it makes him happy that there are poor kids? We shouldn’t blame him and curse him with unexistence just because we don’t do our jobs very well of taking care of one another and bringing each other joy. Because of that, we’re all poor!


  7. Santa is trying to teach us how to fish, and we’re just whining because he won’t give us a fish.

  8. Tatiana,
    Santa simply drops a big net of fish through the chimney. No fishing lessons for my spoiled kids.

    Yeah, the Christkind is an abomination.

  9. Just tell him that Santa is gst and gst is Hitler.

  10. “Now I have decided that Santa must die.”

    The only “Santa” that needs to die is the mythology which unimaginative and uncharitable parents the world over have sometimes unconsciously allowed to be propagated in accordance with the implicit dictates of a materialistic, corporate-dominated, consumer-driven, capitalist economy. Does Santa give presents to everyone? Nope. Does Santa give perfectly equal numbers of presents to everyone? Nope. Does Santa automatically reward good children with toys? Nope. Does Santa have a big factory at the North Pole where his elves pump out PlayStations? Nope. Is any of the above necessarily an argument against the existence of some kind of near-universally acknowledged, supernatural, gift-giving agent? I don’t see why. There is charity, there are anonymous gifts, there are seasonal surprises aplenty every single year. Are we certain that Santa isn’t responsible for any of them? I’m not, at least.

    “The Christkind is an abomination.”

    So Luther went a little too far. Give him a break; he was kind of working on the fly in those days.

  11. When I was about 13 years old, my 7 or 8 year old nephew was over at our house. My sister’s son. She was unable to care for him because she was mentally ill (schizophrenic—in and out of halfway houses and mental hospitals). He was raised by his father’s parents, because his father was also unable to care for him—his father was in prison.

    He said to me, “Why do you have so many toys and things, and I don’t?”

    Try answering that one.

    (BTW, Tales From the Crib has a similar post.)

  12. The mythos of Santa is showing us how to be, people. If we miss that, it’s our doing.

  13. This is all so interesting. I thought the Christkind had been mostly replaced by Father Christmas in Europe. Please note also that the name Kris Kringle is derived from Christkind. If the Wiki entry is correct, Luther introduced the Christkind to help expel St. Nicholas from the holiday. So his motives were good at least.

    Wiki entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christkind

  14. Ronan doesn’t say so in his post, but I think it’s worth noting that his oldest son is 17.

  15. I always thought Santa didn’t visit the poor houses because the cookies weren’t very good.

    Seriously though, I plan to tell my kids about the real Santa – the Catholic saint said to have lived in modern Turkey. I’d focus on that and what he did. It would also be made quite clear that he died some time ago.

  16. AS an aside, is anyone familiar with the pre Coca-Cola Americanized Santa? The One who rode a white horse and hung out with sprites instead of elves. I am looking for a good source on this for my sunday school lesson this sunday.

  17. Wo ist die Santa. Und, ist er nicht “der” Santa?

  18. Christopher Smith says:
  19. Kevin Barney says:

    I am in general pro-Santa, but I would draw the line at lying in response to a direct question, and this comes pretty close. Rather than kill the fat elf outright, you can reconceptualize or “spiritualize” him along the lines Russell has suggested.

  20. No, I think you should kill Santa.

    Or at least a Santa doll. You could use a blender like this one to do it.

    In this way you can teach the wee lad that technology can make up for Santa’s weaknesses.

  21. What an opportunity, Ronan. Santa = mum, dad, grandpa, AND OLDEST SON. Initiate him into the secret by having him do something himself this year for some poor kid, and start a tradition.

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m with Ardis. Transitioning from one side of the pond to the other was great fun for me, which is part of why I am pro-Santa.

  23. i’m with ardis. the second paragraph of ronan’s post made me sad. how old is “boba?”

    “boba,” by the way, was my oldest daughter’s first word, courtesy of dad’s incessant coaching. insert eyeroll here. and i’m ashamed to admit that i was again forced to top our christmas tree with jango. sigh. i should win wife of the year for that alone.

  24. I’m stunned at the lack of imagination manifest here. Of course there is a Santa, and it’s very important that he not die. Your equation is incomplete, although accurate in part, but your premise is false. Santa does give gifts to poor children — lots and lots of them. He could do better at it, I suppose, but, after all, he’s just a guy, and they are gifts, and I think he does a pretty good job at what he does do, so I don’t see any need to kill him for failing to live up to our expectations of him — perhaps we could give him a little break and, maybe, a hand.

    “There is no Santa” or “Santa is just Mom and Dad” is an early understanding that just follows the understanding of “Santa will give me whatever I want for Christmas.” There are better understandings to be found if one is willing to look. With a better understanding of who Santa is and what he does, we gain better insights of what we ought to do about him. I think they are found in both giving him a break and a hand — with a little help, the jolly old guy is able to do what he does much more effectively. I would suggest you invite your son to a better understanding of Santa than you’ve mentioned thus far — there is never a need to tell a child “There is no Santa” IMO.

  25. Not Ophelia says:

    Here’s an excerpt from a Salon.com letter to the editor on pretty much the same subject:

    My daughter wants my partner to tell him the way he told his own kids years ago. Partly, it was desperation, because his then-wife was in the hospital, and he was juggling his job, 3 kids, and hospital visits, not to mention trying to pull off Christmas.

    So, he told the oldest one that there was essentially both good and bad news about Santa. Briefly… that although he’s no longer living, Santa set an inspiring example when he was alive and people still try to keep his memory alive by giving gifts at Christmas time. Since he (my partner’s son) was now old enough to know the truth, he could help make Christmas happen for his brother and sister by helping with some of the things that needed to be done and were too much for his dad to do without help.

    Add the poor along w/ the siblings and you’ll get a [IMO] better outcome.


  26. Tim From SF Peninsula says:

    When I asked why Santa gave other kids more expensive gifts I was told by my parents that Santa actually sends them a bill for part, if not all, of the gifts :)

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