The terrible truth about Santa


ABC asks all the important questions like “Should you tell your kids the ‘truth’ about Santa?” – and answers them: “Is Santa a damaging or wonderful lie? Do yourself and your kids a favour and drop the ‘Santa charade’… You don’t have to be a Grinch about it — just tell them the truth.” (My American readers, for ABC just substitute any mainstream media outlet of your choice, from PBS and NPR to MSNBC and NYT)

Personally, I think the more important question is “Should you tell the ABC viewers the ‘truth’ about Santa?”

I believe it’s time.

I know it’s comforting for you to believe in a powerful and benevolent red-loving figure, who is all-knowing about who is naughty and who is nice, and in a seemingly miraculous feat of logistics rewards the nice ones from an inexhaustible supply of goodies produced by a legion of his cheerful helpers.

Dear ABC viewers, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you: that sort of a perfect socialist government simply doesn’t exist.

There is no such thing as the never-ending supply of free presents. When you find a new gift-wrapped bike for you under the Christmas tree, this is only because Santa made all the other parents in the street give him money they would have otherwise spent on their own children. So enjoy your brand new spanking bicycle, but remember that because of you little Brad at number 6 is only getting a toy truck and Emily at 11 will have to do with a Ken-less Barbie.

That’s right, the elves don’t actually make anything themselves, they just churn the money that Santa compulsory extracts from everyone. A lot goes in and a lot less comes out, because after all the elves, magical creatures or not, have to live on something; plus they need pretty good benefits and superannuation and pension schemes to level the field with all those private sector elves who earn a lot more money (or used to, until private sector wages stagnated, while the public sector, unencumbered by pesky economic realities, kept steaming ahead). Oh, and another thing – cheerful elves? When was the last time you actually had to deal with the government in person, as opposed to merely waxing lyrically about it in principle, as “another name for things we choose to do together” or “the price we pay for a compassionate society”?

And since when are you so excited about a figure of authority knowing everything about you and your life? Let me tell you, a Santa who can tell if you’ve been naughty or nice has access to lot more than just your computer metadata; he knows your browser history, reads your emails, listens to your phone calls, saves all your Snapchats and regularly goes through your trash. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange were your heroes for warning you about Big Santa and his reach, before you tore down their posters from your bedroom wall after they started shilling for Trump and against Hillary.

As for delivering hundreds of millions of presents in a space of 24 hours all around the world, the government can’t even deliver your freaking mail properly. In the oil-rich Venezuela, where a Santoista government has been in power for some time now, the shops are empty, food deliveries cause riots, and people scavenge through rubbish for edible scraps.

Raising these important questions right now is quite apt, not just because we’re only a few weeks from Christmas, but also seeing the recent news of a passing away of a jolly old bearded man who thanks to an extensive network of snitching elves certainly knew who was naught and who was nice, and who promised all the good kids presents (and all the naughty ones a bullet in the head) but all they got instead was 100% literacy and free health care. But fear not, Santa is not dead, he lives in the heart of every ABC viewer who, despite the experience of the past century, still believes that can Santa exists.