Though he’s known as Saint Nick, it’s safe to say Santa Claus would prefer to stay out of (or above) the whole war on Christmas debate. He isn’t a secular invention, but he doesn’t wear religion on his sleeve. He is jolly, loves cookies and his mission in life is to give so generously to all the kids in the world that he needs a magic sleigh with flying reindeer, one with a red glowing nose, to deliver his gifts Christmas Eve and early Christmas night.
But there are a few other things about Santa that make him too old-school for today’s politically correct set.
Let’s consider his bio. Santa Claus is a portly, joyous, white-bearded man who often wears glasses on the tip of his nose. He wears a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white fur-cuffed red trousers and a big black belt and tall boots. He carries a bag full of presents for good children. This depiction of Santa became popular in North America in the early 19th century after the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (better known today as “The Night Before Christmas”) was published in 1823.
Santa, however, isn’t just jolly St. Nick. He is a man with a harsh and stringent code. Santa makes lists of children throughout the world and, oh no, he puts them in categories according to their behavior. His ledger has two columns: one for the good and the other for the bad (the “naughty” and “nice”). He gives toys and candy to the well-behaved children, but he doesn’t forget the bad kids, no, he puts lumps of coal in their Christmas stockings.
He believes in accountability, but is generous of heart and of a forgiving nature. Last year can be forgotten if you were good this year. Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Santa is obviously a man of such strong character he can forgive easily. He is a man living by a code.
Santa likely wouldn’t go in for participation awards and scoreless soccer games for the kids. No, he believes in real outcomes, even in rewards and punishments.
So dare we say it: Santa is a conservative.
Santa is also a hardworking guy. He’s a factory owner. Santa’s workshop (his factory) is now often portrayed as a fully mechanized production and distribution facility. He makes all his toys and candy there with the help of his elves at the North Pole. We don’t know if they’re unionized or have a good healthcare plan, but they always seem happy. We do know he imports his goods all over the world without paying taxes or dealing with trade agreements, so he’s a free trader. His only pay is milk and cookies, so perhaps that makes it okay that he bypasses taxes and tariffs.
Santa keeps reindeer. What they eat up there in all that snow and ice we don’t know. But, as a livestock owner, he is connected to the earth in a very real and manly way.
Mrs. Claus is in a support role. Perhaps she is the CFO. She certainly seems to have the upper hand with Santa when she needs it. But, though they have no children of their own, she has most often been depicted in the old-fashioned role of a housewife.
No doubt about it, Santa is old fashioned. He is also an individualist. He goes his own way. He doesn’t obey airport tower controllers or customs officials.
Santa is a man with deep values and endless kindness. He is never cold-hearted, well, except for the lump of coal thing. That makes him a practical man, a man who believes in raising the next generation right with real consequences guiding the way to adulthood. To me, this makes him a man’s man. Though I wouldn’t call him a man of the times, not in this age, but he might be again, as he is sticking to the timeless values.
Frank Miniter is the author of The Future of the Gun” (Regnery 2014) a book that gets to the basis of the gun issue. He is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller “The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide” (Regnery April 14, 2009). His latest book is titled, “This Will Make a Man of You: One Man’s Search for Hemingway and Manhood in a Changing World” (November 15, 2016).