Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

“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)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

One thought on “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

  1. There’s also the fact of the three deadly vices named two are crying and shouting. Dare I say that these two are not merely morally ambiguous; they are many times when such activities may be virtuous for children (and the rest of us).

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