Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!"
-- from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, 1934
There's definitely this concept that Santa Claus has this list that he keeps "score" with all year to determine which kids get gifts and which kids don't...or in some cases coal.
This time of year there's always the mathematician who wants to account for the speed at which Santa would have to travel in order to bring gifts around the world on Christmas eve.
Of course, rarely do those mathematicians try to consider who's naughty and who's nice. What if Santa's rules were so stringent that no one was worthy of a toy from his workshop and as a result parents filled the role of Santa by providing gifts for their children instead so that there naughty-list child wouldn't feel bad.
In fact, I guess that's one of the affirmations of Santa to consider is that getting a gift from Santa would affirm that you are "good enough" to make his list.
I must disclose that I am a scrooge when it comes to Santa Claus as part of the Christmas tradition. I find him an unappealing part of the holiday, and whether it's stockings or trips to sit on his lap at the mall, I will gladly skip the whole thing. And part of my disdain is this Naughty or Nice list.
I find this list morally objectionable because it presents an ideological concept of measurement of our "good-ness" in a way that conflicts with my own personal Christian view points of good (we're all sinners who are redeemed by God to do good).
Further not only is Santa prevent a relativistic view of good and evil, this relativistic list skews towards the fact that we are generally "good enough."
Sure, we've heard parents at the department stores threatening that Santa won't bringing them any toys because of their poor behavior, but the threats are empty. I've never heard of a parent choosing to not fill the stocking of their five or eight year old child due to their behavior.
So the threat of the naughty list, is empty, and thus we present a concept that everyone is good...except of course people who kill people and rob houses. Otherwise, everyone else is just fine.
Anyways...call my a scrooge, I can take it. But this naughty and nice list is just something that bothers me about the holiday season.
Pictured above is Tim Allen in the film The Santa Clause