This is Why Santa's Naughty and Nice Lists are Toxic

Affiliate links are used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.

I did a post earlier listing 5 reasons why we don't do Santa Claus, but here is another reason why we don't do Santa and I felt it deserved a post of its own.

Santa's Message of Giving is Misguided

Santa Claus only gives toys to children who are "good" or "nice." This is manipulation, using a toy to get kids to be good. His toys aren't presents, but rewards or prizes in exchange for good behavior, which is also vague as "good" and "naughty" is in the eye of the beholder. This is not what true gifting is about.

Scary Mommy shared a post on their Facebook about why threatening your child with Santa isn't okay, and I was appalled at some of the comments. So many parents were actually for threatening their children and some even claimed they went as far as taking away Santa Claus or having him bring a lump of coal.

I've been called a Grinch because we don't do Santa, but these people take the cake! It's like the whole reason these parents even do Santa is just so they have an excuse to bully their children. If I had a dime for every time I heard "Don't make me call Santa," I would be rich!

Many were also arguing "well that's how Santa works." Admitting that he only gives gifts to "nice" children, so why should they give their kids gifts from Santa if they have been "naughty?"

This message of giving is toxic. These parents are showing their children that presents are only given if the person does what they want. This isn't in the spirit of giving at all. This is manipulation or a reward-based system, not a true gift.

It's also setting up your child with unrealistic expectations. Sometimes people do good things and aren't rewarded. In fact, you should want to do good deeds without getting something in return. We need more Phoebe Buffay's in the world.

So what to do instead?

If you still want to do Santa, then don't threaten your child. Don't tell or scream at them that you are going to call Santa. Don't even talk about them being naughty or nice (which have very vague definitions depending on who is judging the child).

Simply tell them Santa will bring them a gift because he is a nice person. He wants every boy and girl to have a toy because giving gifts makes others happy which makes him happy. That is the true meaning of giving. That is the spirit of Christmas!

Remember, Santa isn't real. He's fictional. You can play him however you like. That means you can make him a nice guy. He doesn't have to be the judgemental jerk that society has created. You can change his toxic message of giving to a better one and teach your child that gifts are given out of kindness and love with no strings attached, with no expectations. They are not rewards.

Bonus Resource

Check out this awesome Mental Health ad from NAMI where Santa realizes and admits that he has been doing it all wrong, that the naughty and nice list is toxic.