Millennial parents are skipping the hot trend of Elf on the Shelf from a few years ago and are now leaning on Santa himself to do the spying on kids. A stroll through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook reveals that young parents are using “Santa Cam” ornaments and other fake spy cameras to get their kids to believe that “he knows when you are sleeping and he knows when you’re awake”.
The Huffington Post calls the trend “creepy”.
We will go further than that.
Any parent who employs Santa in this way should be run over by his sleigh, trampled by the reindeer and buried with a stake of holly in his (or her) heart.
To be fair, Millennial parents are not the first to turn Santa into a threat. Legendary gift bringers from all over the world have long carried threats of violence and death against children.
In Iceland, the gift bringer is known as the Yule Lads. These dozen mischievous boys are sons of Gyrla, a witch-like gift bringer whose real intent is to kidnap children, disembowel them and then eat them. She is so prolific during the month of December that the government had to ban her for a time because children there would not even leave their homes at Christmas time in fear for running into her or one of her offspring.
There’s Krampus, another legendary creep from Austria whose long tongue alone gives visions of horrors.
Even the ancient Norse god Odin, who was the very model for the modern Santa Claus, would extract his pound of flesh.
Look into just about any ancient European culture and you’re going to find a legendary figure that spied on kids and separated them into groups we benignly label “naughty” and “nice”.
They all take on one form or another tied to St. Nicholas.
The true irony lies in the fact that not only did the real St. Nicholas — the benevolent Bishop of Myra — not care about the identity of children but he tried to give anonymously and NOT get caught in the act of so doing.
None of this, for the record, is the fault of Santa Claus. It’s Mom and Dad, kids, and we’re not too afraid to tell you.
Santa would never approve of this kind of stuff.
K. Klark Klaus is a former professor of theology and, as an academic, abhors the titles of "writer" and "reporter". As a New Yorker he was prominent on his essays on religion for many decades before retiring with his wife to Vermont, where he raises reindeer and writes, er, opines for Christmas Weekly.
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