‘Tis the season

Posted December 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

BABBLING BROOKS column–Express Editor Kim Brooks

Santa is Santa

It’s crazy when national news anchors and adults who are hired to educate young children have to bring race and religion into the mix when referring to the jolly guy himself, Santa Claus!

Last week, Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly said on the air, “By the way, for all of you kids watching at home, Santa just is white… Santa is what he is.”

A high school teacher in New Mexico told a freshman student, who’s African American, that he couldn’t dress like Santa Claus for a holiday themed dress-up day at school because Santa is white.

So who made these two the Santa police?

In their defense, they stated that the mainstream media seems to constantly portray Santa as a white man.

While historical references may have depicted Santa as a white man, historical references are not always accurate in today’s day and age. The world has evolved. This country is no longer predominately white anymore; people from all over the world, every race and ethnicity and religion, make up our population. Portraying Santa as someone of a different race or ethnicity should be socially accepted in 2013!

Just as the United States is made up of so many diverse people, Santa Claus himself is known by several names around the world: Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and Kris Kringle, just to name a few. You don’t hear people debating on the correct name for the big guy, do you?

Even the powerful children’s theme park and animated movie franchise Disney finally jumped on board with new Disney princesses representing other races. Arabian Princess Jasmine from “Aladdin,” Pocahontas is Native American, Mulan is Chinese, and Tiana, from “The Princess and the Frog,” is African American.

All of these variations have been acknowledged and accepted by the mainstream public and media. I have yet to hear the national news raise an issue with an African American or Indian Disney princess. Yet, when thinking of Santa Claus in a different context other than white, it’s not accepted! Craziness!

While I’m not a huge fan of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, I thought he summed it up rather poignantly, “Santa Claus is what every child needs him to be, and the children get to decide Santa Claus, not some TV commentator.”

Elf duties

Last week, I volunteered to help the Chamber at the Santa House. Santa Claus needed some help, so I did my part as the holiday elf. (Some might say my height deficiency plays well into the role.)

Working two nights at the Santa House, you get to see so many little boys and girls coming to see Santa, tell him what they want for Christmas and give him their wish list before it’s too late.

We had some kids who were quite anxious to sit on Santa’s lap and visit with him. We had those who were a bit timid. And we also had those who were just not ready to see Santa. (Maybe next year…)

Many of kids asked Santa if their Elf of the Shelf was reporting back to him about how good they’ve been all season. Santa said he knows and is in constant communication with all of the elves.

The most popular present kids wanted, no matter the age, was an iPad. Some other popular ideas were cell phones, iPods and video game systems. One kid actually asked for a coloring book, which I thought was nice to hear aside from the technology devices. The little boys asked for tractors, trucks and skid loaders. Little girls asked for princess clothes and baby dolls.

But it was one little girl who stood out. She sat on Santa’s lap and explained she just got out of the hospital and her family found out she has diabetes. She asked Santa for a cure. That was a very touching moment for all of us!