Do you believe in Santa Claus? Many think they are too old to believe in Santa Claus, but they have unwittingly come believe in another one—a figurative Santa Claus that goes by the name of “welfare state” or “big government.”
But Santa would be insulted by the comparison.
The real Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop who used his inheritance to anonymously alleviate the suffering of others, particularly children and poor women. This reputation led to his being associated with giving surprise gifts at Christmas.
The mystique of Santa Claus is about giving, not entitlement. Santa Claus is about the magic of the serendipitous, the unexpected miracle, the abundance of goodness unleashed in the world when we choose generosity and compassion over selfishness.
Santa isn’t about getting; he’s about giving. When as family members, neighbors, and citizens, we give a hand to those around us, we’ll be less tempted to expect government to be the first, best, or only solution to society’s problems. And we’ll be less likely to think only about what we can get—from our family, our neighbors, or the state.
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program at Cascade Policy Institute.