Neither Santa Nor The Christmas Birthday Baby Is White

Dangerous mythology teaches something to our kids and it’s not as generous or harmless as you might think

Christyl Rivers, Phd.
5 min readDec 18, 2020


Thanks to DRZ on Unsplash

Crushing Magic

When I was a child, I never got the “magic” of Christmas because my sister, three years older than I was, smashed it. She, a snotty, bossy, six-year old, Karen, know -it- all, explained that “Santa Claus is not real.

“ It’s all mom and dad.”

As a toddler, I scanned the skies for reindeer. I was waiting sleeplessly in our shared room at the tender age of three and a half. Still, at this disturbing revelation, I remember being more intrigued than disappointed.

If fact, if I was disappointed, I didn’t show it or let on. Looking back, especially as a clinical psychologist, it is clear that I was in classical denial.

I didn’t want the two awful truths to be revealed: Number one: There is no Santa Claus. Number two: All adults are liars.

For years, I acted around my parents as though what they said was gospel. Like a disgruntled Trumpeteer, my actions screamed: “Of course we have a hero and he will shower us all with everything we need to fix the world.”

It’s what we all want. We want to perpetuate misbeliefs because they can in fact, be quite comforting.

Come to think of it, my parents never did tell me that Santa was fake, or that Jesus was Jewish, for that matter.

The war on Christmas arises

By my teens I was a flaming christian evangelist (the good kind not the creepy, intolerant kind) and yes, I perfectly understand that this too can be explained, by confirmation bias.

Flash forward to my honeymoon in my early thirties. S is the second atheist I have fallen in love with, and I momentarily wonder if my lack of faith in Santa influenced my lack of faith in Jesus. I had abandoned the church once past my teen years, and honestly, I did feel like a war casualty.

I entered graduate school, in part to study human belief systems, psychology, and entrenched identity politics and Ecopsychology.



Christyl Rivers, Phd.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.