Corruption and Exploitation Fuel Santa Claus’s Economic Empire

Cassandra Bristol, Opinions Editor

Santa Claus is the figure that gives gifts to children around the world, flying across the sky in his sleigh and bringing holiday spirit into the air. For generations he has united those who celebrate Christmas in collective excitement for the presents they will receive. But what people fail to realize is that he has secrets. Father Christmas isn’t simply that jolly, generous old man; he runs a corrupt and oppressive scheme through which he exploits the labor of his elves, surveils the personal lives of millions of families, and denies the wants and needs of children across the globe.

Santa’s elves work tireless hours in order to produce a near-infinite amount of presents for the ever-expanding number of children on Earth. And what do they receive in return? Nothing. Not even a share of the milk and cookies set out on each living room table, or a fraction of the royalties earned from each Christmas movie. But they do the bulk of the work. This then begs the question: why is it that Santa gets all of the credit? After all, Santa would have no gifts to give, and no fame, if it weren’t for the labor of the elf class. The elves deserve adequate pay for their hard work and an equal say in the quality of their working conditions.

We all know the classic Christmas song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” a seemingly wholesome children’s classic. But, upon inspecting the lyrics further, a lot of illegal activity seems to be occurring. He sees you when you’re sleeping? He knows when you’re awake? He knows if you’ve been bad or good? Whatever your preferred method of parenting, there should be a consensus that Mr. Kringle should not have the ability to invade children’s personal privacy to this incredibly extreme extent.

You can never expect Saint Nick to give you the gifts you actually want. We all know the trope of the kid sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall and asking him for a dragon, then awkwardly being met with bartering for a more realistic request. This begs the question: if Santa Claus is seen as this magical, almost god-like entity who can deliver so many presents and create so many goods, what is stopping him from making the most insane gifts? And, perhaps more perplexingly, how come so many kids simply don’t end up receiving the gifts they truly want, even if they do exist in the real world? It truly makes one question his intentions in the first place. Senior Elijah Miranda said, “Santa is egotistical and in need of loving, why else would he give toys to complete strangers?”

Obviously, a certain amount of credit should be given to the man. After all, he is able to give a ton of children gifts in an incredibly short amount of time. But examining the demographics of who tends to receive the best presents uncovers an alarmingly classist side to Papa Noel. A Harvard Chan School study indicated that “…socioeconomic deprivation presents structural barriers to cheer that challenge even Santa’s preternatural abilities.” There is a disparity between the quality of gifts given to poor kids versus wealthy kids which needs to be addressed immediately (

Taking into account the impact he has had on the world, whether it be in the media, culture, or consumerism, one thing is incredibly apparent: Santa Claus’s corrupt methods should no longer be tolerated. His elves should be given sufficient means for what they produce, he should be held legally accountable for spying on families, and he must quit being so cheap with his choice of presents and his choice of houses to deliver to. And this change cannot be done if all celebrators of Christmas do not rise up and make their voices heard.