No Darcie, there is no Santa Claus!

Santa Claus reading wish list

„So it’s understandable that you see his pudgy red face at every store and mall. The surprising thing is that you also see him in day-care centers and schools. Teachers actually encourage kids to draw or color Santa rather than explaining that he’s only an advertising agent our after their parents’ credit cards. The same teachers may be promoting causes like environmental protection but somehow fail to oppose the Santa Creep, the world’s greatest promoter of greed and vulgar materialism. Often they also overlook the mind-polluting effects violent cartoons, computer games, aggressive commercials, reality shows, rock music and Hollywood’s ‘cruel is cool’ action movies have on youngsters.

„But it is even more surprising to see the Santa character promoted by parochial schools, Catholic pastors and Polish-American organizations. Why in the world would they want to propagate the one character who has done more than anyone else to take Christ out of Christmas? Why should they be going along with those who have turned the beautiful family-oriented religious Feast of the Nativity into one huge, many-month-long, razzle-dazzle shopping spree? And then there are the parents who unwittingly help to brain-wash their own kids by making such a big fuss about presents: finding out who wants want, gift shopping, wrapping presents, hiding presents and finally ripping all the glittery wrappings to shreds on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, amid all the hoopla and confusion, more and more of our youngsters are growing up without knowing whose birthday is really being celebrated.

„Before the paid cartoonists, song writers, marketing experts and the tycoons bankrolling them joined forces to create the silly Santa elf and boost business, there really was a Saint Nicholas. He was a kindly bishop known for helping the needy. Despite all the dazzling shopping-mall glitter and ‘Jingle Bell’ noise blaring over the loudspeakers, he continues to live in the hearts of those who believe the Christmas season is more than just high-powered shopping and partying. The real Owiêty Mikołaj may still be encountered here and there visiting Polish-American parishes, schools, scout troops and clubs and rewarding kids who know their prayers, do good deeds and are kind to others.

„So, Darcie, now that you know, you can tell your grandparents and parents, your classmates and friends that THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS. But there is a Saint Nicholas. He comes down from heaven on his feastday, December 6th, TO KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS!’


On St. Nicholas Day in Poland

Polish Santa
On St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, the youngsters are visited by Santa Claus (Sw. Mikolaj). In Poland , Sw. Mikolaj is not an oversized man with red pompom topped cap, red Jacket, and riding boots. Instead, he is a saintly, more dignified figure, dressed in the regal purple and gold robe, wearing a cape and bishops hat, and carrying a crosier (a crooked staff, the symbol of his bishop station). He travels the countryside on foot, occasionally astride a white horse, blessing the children, and distributing goodies to well behaved children and swishes (rozgi) to the naughty. Sw. Mikolaj does not live at the North Pole, but up in Heaven.

December sixth, St. Nicholas day — Dzien Swietego Mikolaja — brought a slight reprieve to gray monotonous days, especially to children, who felt that the Christmas Gwiazdka (star) – would never come. St. Nicholas was revered because of his compassion and love for orphans whom he often visited and comforted with little gifts. His name is celebrated more in some Central European countries than is Christmas itself.


Robert Strybel

ul. Kaniowska 24, 01-529 Warsaw

[email protected]