As families decorate trees and string Christmas lights from their rooftops, another holiday tradition embraced by many takes place…not at home, but mostly in the middle of busy shopping malls. It’s the annual visit to Santa Claus, where parents and kids rush to see that all-too-familiar jolly red-suited fellow. Most children believe he will grant their Christmas wish-list requests just by sitting on his lap and sharing with him their holiday dreams. However, in a recent editorial piece featured on the online media source Syracuse.com, Tim Zeigdel likens this familiar character to Satan…and he’s not the only one.
In hopes to get more of his work published in the local newspaper, Zeigdel submitted a commentary piece to Syracuse.com titled, “Santa is an anagram for Satan.” Without a doubt, the title attracted the attention of readers who wanted to see how ‘Satan’ made it into the news feed of their online news resource. While most people seemed not to agree with Zeigdel’s point of view, the comments that followed opened up a dialogue that ranged from defending Christmas traditions to agreeing that some aspects of the holiday are a bit ‘creepy.’
Zeigdel compared the shopping mall visits to see Santa to ‘lambs to a slaughter,’ describing the ritual of little children as being led or ‘more liked lured’ to Santas worldwide. He finds fault in allowing young children to “sit on the laps of strangers dressed up as Santa.” He calls the act ‘extremely creepy’ to allow a child to sit on a stranger’s lap while being encouraged with candy canes or the promise of a gift. Zeigdel disagrees with the practice altogether, and questions the kind of message that this ritual sends.
He ends his commentary piece with: “Santa is an anagram for Satan, and its time we start seeing this red suited devil as such.” Before reading Zeigdel’s piece, the newspaper asked readers to later share whether they’d like to read more of his work. By clicking a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ button, readers could voice their opinion (in addition to leaving behind a comment below the piece). By the end of the day, Zeigdel’s piece had garnered 26 ‘thumbs up’ and 100 ‘thumbs down.’
Yet, Zeigdel is not the only individual to have such sentiments. Seeing Satan as an ‘evil,’ ‘creepy’ character with questionable intentions, and also being compared to Satan, is nothing new. Those who suspect something more sinister behind the concept of Ol’ Saint Nick often use the Bible to support their viewpoints. As it is written in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” The ‘lion’ (Satan) is constantly on the lookout for his next victim, and has a habit of preying on the weak, the injured, the smallest, and the youngest. Satan takes advantage of those who are unable or less likely to fight or flee.
Because of their impressionable minds, immaturity, vulnerability, and overall need to be guided, children make the ideal victims for an entity such as Satan. The Devil has been called a ‘master of disguise,’ and is known to tempt the hearts and penetrate the minds of the younger generation. Some see Santa Claus as a clever guise meant to trick and possibly confuse young kids. Others say that the similarities between Santa and the horned Norse god Thor are too close to ignore. The origins of St. Nicholas have also come into question.
And as Zeidel pointed out in his commentary, the fact that Santa’s name is an anagram for Satan is another point people make when they’d like to prove that it isn’t so far-fetched that the true intentions or origin of Mr. Claus aren’t necessarily the jolliest.