Ethics Dunce: Santa Claus

In a video that has “gone viral,” a mall Santa, socially distanced of course, engages in conduct that by Ethics Alarms standards triggered a duty to confront on behalf of the mother of the child he mistreated.

I wish we could determine when and where this episode occurred; I half expect to find out that it was staged by Breitbart or James O’Keefe. Assuming the video is genuine, howeverit is an example of a Santa Claus seriously abusing his authority.

In the video, a little boy is seen sitting across a table from Santa who asks, “What do you want for Christmas?” The child inaudibly asks for a toy gun, and Santa responds, “No guns.” Even after the mother clarifies that her son only meant a Nerf gun—you know, these sinister playthings…


—not that it was a mall Santa’s business to veto any kind of toy gun, or any toy at all—the right jolly old elf behaved like a jackass in spite of himself, saying, “Nope, not even a Nerf gun. If your dad wants to get it for you that’s fine, but I can’t bring it to you.”(Why would dad be the one to buy a toy gun, you stereotyping sexist?) “What else would you like?” Faux Santa continued. “Lots of other toys! Legos, bicycles, there’s cars and trucks. What do you think?”

The boy then starts to cry.

That was the point where Mom needed to tell her child that she just noticed that THIS Santa was an evil imposter sent by the Grinch to wreck Christmas. Then she should have gotten in Fake Santa’s fake Santa face and told him he ought to be ashamed of himself, complained to the management, and made sure the jerk never gets behind a team of reindeer again.

A mall Santa Claus has a single job, one: to try to bolster a childhood Christmas fantasy that has become harder and harder to maintain as the culture becomes poisoned with cynicism and politics . The scary Santa in “A Christmas Story” who dashes Ralphie’s hopes by telling him that a Red Ryder rifle will shoot his eye out may be a funny gag, but the film wasn’t supposed to ne an instructional video.

I fully expect that Joe Biden’s America will be rife with these illicit indoctrination efforts regarding guns, speech restrictions, climate change, open borders, racial spoils, white male denigration and a whole lot more, so we all better Cowboy Up and prepare to push back effectively.

31 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Santa Claus

  1. Based upon her appearance and voice, I suspect that this Santa was a woman. (I would have said “lady,” but if Santa’s a she, she ain’t no lady.)

      • Sounds to me as if she’s being Minnesota nice. “Oh, jah, Sure.” She may even be from Wesconsin. Bossy pants is not a good type to play a merry old man.

        And good luck with that, lady. Our eleven year old grandson hosted five of his sixth grade buddies at our place for a weekend get together. (We vacated and left the space to our son and the other kids’ parents.) We are still finding expended nerf ordnance everywhere. Outside in the yard, Under the beds. Behind furniture.

  2. Well, we’re a long way from C.S. Lewis’ Father Christmas arming the Pevensies for the upcoming battle against evil.

    This is a bit reminiscent of this episode of Michael Landon’s final series “Highway to Heaven” in which a store Santa who believes himself to be the real McCoy goes to court to try to stop the store from using Santa to market toy weapons. Store Santas get all kinds of wacky request, it’s not all just touching requests by Dutch war orphans and deaf children. Their job is to say they will try to make this wish come true, as much as they can without promising. It’s not to steer children toward or away from any particular item, and definitely not to push the woke agenda.

    Like it or not, boys’ toys (and some girls’ toys) are almost always going to have an element of conflict to them, I remember them selling plastic soldier sets with mats to represent Anzio, Pork Chop Hill, and many other historic battles when I was just 5, and when I was 7 I still remember the first commercial for violent toys I saw, a line of formidable-looking super robots based on anime. “Imagine you’ve entered the world of the Shogun Warriors. They’re on the move! There’s Raydeen with delta-wing missiles, Dragun with a star shooter, and Mazinga with a rocket launcher, the Shoguns! Imagine you command them to defend freedom, protect justice, and challenge evil! The shoguns, they’re ready to strike when you are!”

    The fact is that play with no tension or conflict, or minimal conflict and tension, gets boring really fast. Pushing cars around going “vroom vroom,” putting up blocks higher and higher, and moving plastic animals around an imaginary “farmyard” marked by cheap plastic fencing just doesn’t do it. Eventually kids are going to want something a little more exciting. It’s not for a store Santa to say you can only get boring toys that reflect woke values.

    • Not only will play without conflict not last long, it’s hardly play. Play is not meant to be mere whiling away the hours until one is grown. It’s the process by which we grow. Puppies and kittens play all the time, and it’s inherently violent. It’s how they learn to hunt, to kill, to fight for a mate or for dominance. Or even just because someone stole their favorite bone- they’re learning conflict resolution skills. My two dogs’ favorite game is one I can only call “biteyface” wherein they each simultaneously try to bite each other’s faces off. While vigorously wagging tails and posture belie the aggressiveness, revealing the fun they’re having. I would suggest that we try to imagine a world where no one practices conflict beyond a 3 year old’s capability, but it hardly stretches the imagination. We live there! Gone are the days when knowing how to use a weapon well was a key to survival, and parents worked to prepare their children for the future. This imposter should be ashamed of himself and fired, although he will be neither.

      • Actually he “resigned” and another Santa showed up at the kid’s house with the requested Nerf gun. BTW, this is not to say that if parents want to steer their kids in one direction or another, that’s not ok. It’s ok to tell your 5-6yo son to put Pooh down and come play catch with dad, don’t be a baby. It’s ok to sign a weak son up for aggressive sports, and tell him not to be a sissy. It’s ok not to give annoying bleep-bleep video games or noisemaking toys. It’s ok to put a hard age cap on certain kinds of toys and tell your kids this Christmas is going to be the last one where they get them. If in fact you are against weapons, it’s ok to say no toy guns.

    • One of my favorite anecdotes about my children which plays into your comment (and about the inherent physiological differences in boys and girls) is this:

      My then 6 year old daughter was playing school with a bunch of little figures–had them all arranged nicely in rows listening to the teacher. She had been playing thus quietly for about 15 minutes when her friend, a 6 year old boy, came over to the house to play. He asked if he could join her, and she said yes. He sat down, grabbed another toy and–not even exaggerating here–started screaming “kill kill kill!” and knocked all her other toys over.

      • Hah! My earth moving civil engineer cousin and his wife and Mrs. OB and I once wondered together whether little boys’ ability to make engine noises while playing with toy trucks, toy heavy machinery and toy farm equipment (all of which we had in good supply when our kids were young, many of them legacies from prior generations) was genetic. “Where does that come from?” the women mused aloud.

        • I read some article by well-meaning hipster Christian parents who gave their daughters toy trucks and wouldn’t let their sons have toy weapons. The girls tucked the trucks into their doll beds and the boys, when their sticks from the backyard were confiscated, started dueling with celery stalks. The parents then let the boys have toy swords (but not guns).

          • “Boys will be boys” has been made radioactive forever, unfortunately. It used to be a simple and useful insight.

            I’ll see you and raise you: Our daughter fought with her brother constantly, She still doesn’t like him very much and will blast him or his wife from time to time just for good measure. But the weird thing is, she absolutely dotes on her son, to the point where she treats her daughter like Cinderella. The maternal instinct is a strong and surprising thing.

  3. I hate every bit of this, but I think that’s well understood.

    What can I add to this? Precious little. I know this is getting into the weeds, and I can’t possibly know this, but the kid’s body language didn’t react to “no” so much as it did to “maybe if your dad wants to buy you one”. Wouldn’t it be something if the Liberal Mall Santa not only told a kid no, but reminded him that he didn’t have a dad?

  4. Perhaps in another mall, with another “Santa,” an undercover cop will don the beard and red suit, and a little girl of about age 9 or 10 will quietly ask for an abortion, or, to “become a boy.” Of course, the former will be granted as a Christmas wish (because, after all, Mary CHOSE to carry Little Jesus to term). The latter, becoming a boy, might trigger an investigation by Child Protective Services into the child’s home environment – but, the gender reassignment might proceed, anyway.

    • Lucky. If the foregoing does not earn you a COTD, nothing ever will. Sure it’s of the hit and run variety, but still worthy, maybe because it is of that variety.

  5. Saint Nicholas got in trouble for physically assaulting Arius who had proposed heterodox views on the divinity of Christ. Somehow, I don’t think he would oppose a boy getting a toy gun.

  6. The Mall Santa was, and probably is, a jerk. Why make a political anti-gun statement at the boy’s expense. That Mall Santa says that guns are bad and if dad wants to give him a gun, then, by extension dad is bad.

    I saw the follow up video where a different Santa knocks on his door and tells him he heard about what happened and made a beeline from the North Pole to deliver a Nerf gun. That is equally odd. How do you explain to this boy that there are two or more Santas? What message is the new Santa giving the boy? Is New Santa/Chief Santa sending the message that Subordinate Santa doesn’t have authority to deny a child a gift or gift request?

    Our son was never really interested in chatting with Santa. He thought it was weird to see a guy in a red suit sitting on some crazy throne promising to give toys to all of the girls and boys. He wondered why adults (parents, teachers, etc.) were telling children to stay away from strangers but then gladly sit their children on some stranger’s lap in a shopping mall. He would have none of sitting on a Santa’s lap after Mass, either. Standing next to him? Begrudgingly acceptable. Oh, and he couldn’t wrap is mind around Santa parading down the center aisle to kneel and pray before the Baby Jesus in the manger during Mass on Christmas Eve – he wondered what that was all about.


    • One of the most memorable photos from our nuclear family/child rearing days is of our daughter, probably then aged two, trying to escape the clutches of an admittedly bizarre and somewhat terrifying looking paper mache-headed Easter bunny on whose lap we had posed her. I think it was at a Publix supermarket. Hers is a face of absolute, undiluted terror. Probably a good thing CPS never saw the photo.

    • The boy in this story appears to be about six years old. In my experience, that’s around the age when the story of Santa starts to include his “helpers”, aka Mall Santa, Department Store Santa, Salvation Army Bell Ringer Santa, etc. Younger kids don’t ask too many questions, they sort of just accept Santa in any context. Older kids start having trouble reconciling Santa’s ubiquity with his supposed busy schedule making toys, so most parents resort to the “that’s not the REAL Santa, it’s one of his helpers” bit for the last couple years of Santa belief. I suspect that’s what they told this kid.

  7. Somebody tell woke Santa that LEGO minifigures often come wielding tiny toy guns. Also, he/she/xe needs to replace their problematic laugh with “Sex worker, sex worker, sex worker!”

    • I would bet Legos, stepped on in the dark, have inflicted or caused more injuries on adults than Nerf guns have on children and adults combined.

      The Danes are using Legos in their long term plan for global domination by crippling everyone.

  8. If Santa doesn’t do guns, that means there’s a deleted scene at the end of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in which The Water Pistol That Shoots Jelly is left alone forever on the Island of Misfit Toys, rejected by Santa, trying and failing to find a way to shoot himself.

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