It’s a running joke within the Black community that Santa should not be given credit for all of a parent’s hard work and sacrifice at Christmas. In fact, there are many of us that were discouraged from believing in Santa. I remember having a faint belief in Santa as a child, but St. Nick was never a big deal to me.
My child is finally old enough to start getting excited about Christmas. He’s itching to tear into his gifts under the tree, and asks every day, “Is it Christmas yet?” Each of the gifts I’ve placed under the tree is from “Santa,” but is it wrong of me to allow my child believe that some jolly-white man is dropping off presents for him instead of his hardworking Black parents?
The second pivot point of this debate is religion. As most African Americans are Christians, some view Santa Claus as some kind of anti-Christ and only Jesus should be taught at Christmas. But I don’t think these two men can’t be interdependent. Teaching about Santa is not anti to Jesus, rather it brings home the idea of “giving,” and doesn’t have to counter the celebration of Christ.
After much debate, I don’t think it’s detrimental for my son to believe in Santa Claus. I think Santa is an integral part of the joy and excitement of the season. He, his flying sleigh and reindeer, are what bring magic to the season. And quite simply, it makes children happy to believe that some fat man squeezes through the chimney just to give them gifts.
The real St. Nick was not a Black man, but his spirit is colorless. Santa can be Black, Asian, a woman… it doesn’t matter. The idea of Santa belongs to everyone.