• Sandy Reynolds

Is Santa the Poster Boy for The Patriarchy?

I was working on my Soul-Centered Christmas workshop this week when I suddenly realized another reason I'm not too fond of Santa. If you have been around here for a while, you know the mythical man from the North Pole, and I have a bit of history.


When my kids were children, my husband and I decided that we wouldn't include Santa in our celebrations. It was scandalous at the time. I recall my mother telling me, "You are ruining their childhood." There were lots of people who questioned us. It's funny the things we question that others do.


I had been watching the lengths people went to trying to perpetuate belief in Santa for years. Buying gifts and tagging them Santa was just the start. I observed all kinds of trickery going on - leaving Santa tracks in the house, making up elaborate stories to explain how he got in a house without a fireplace, reindeer food, etc. And sure, I can accept it might be fun, but it seemed a bit incongruent for me.


I didn't want to lie to my kids. I wanted them to believe that the things I told them about were true. So intentionally going about creating and sustaining a lie didn't feel right to me. In the end, we told them that Santa was a story. We compared him to mythical characters that they were familiar with from other stories. We tried to minimize his significance.


They survived, and in fact, my daughter has taken a similar route with her children. They read stories about Santa, and they fit right in with their stories about faeries and dragons and unicorns.


My husband and I have been discussing patriarchy in response to some reading he is doing. I am continually surprised to discover more ways this system shapes and influences our lives. As I have been writing this course, I started thinking about Santa through that lens. I suddenly thought about Santa and decided he was the perfect poster boy for The Patriarchy.


Really! We know that women do the bulk of the work at creating all the magic of Christmas. Yes, there are exceptions, but I would guess that most of us do the majority of the decorating, baking, gift buying, wrapping, arranging social events, etc. And then, at the end of the day, we give credit to some random guy who did nothing and doesn't even exist!


His elves do all the actual work, and then once a year, he swoops in to take credit for everything. He is like the Jeff Bezos of Christmas. These are the thoughts I've been having!


Every year I offer an email course on Managing Expectations at Christmas. This year I thought it would be fun to get together on Zoom and work through the content. I've renamed the course: