“You better watch out / You better not cry / You better not pout / I’m telling you why / Santa Claus is coming to town . . . . He’s making a list, / Checking it twice; / Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. . . . 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.”—John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (1934)

10k377“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” has got to be the creepiest—as well as the most morally confusing—Christmas carol. In one verse, kids are told that they’re supposed to be good because this dirty old man is watching them, NSA-style, 24/7; in the next, they’re told they’re supposed to be “good for goodness sake.” And we wonder why they’re so confused! Am I supposed to be good for the reward (that is, the presents)? Am I supposed to be good to avoid punishment? Or am I supposed to do good stuff simply because it’s the right thing to do? I was horrified by the idea of an omniscient Big Brother Santa when I was a kid. I remember asking my mom: “Can he see me when I go pee-pee?”

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2016)