Dear Santa, Stop Taking Credit For Our Work

Santa needs a brand-image makeover, because what we really want for Christmas is a big, heartfelt thank you to cover our emotional labour.

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illustration of a tire-looking woman wrapping gifts by a Christmas tree late at night

Illustration, Leeandra Cianci.

Dear Santa,

For Christmas this year, I’d like to propose something a little different. I get it, you’re a traditionalist. But Santa, your brand is in desperate need of a refresh. First, let’s ditch the whole King Joffrey vibe with the throne in the mall. Splash out on a nice couch, so that kids can sit beside you, not on you. Oh, and if you could stop just sliding into people’s homes, and cut the naughty/nice binary crap, that’d be a great start.

But the gift I really want this year? A heartfelt thank you. If you’ve paid attention to anything other than toys in 2019, the term “emotional labour” should ring a few sleigh bells. (Check your email—did Mrs. Claus forward you any think pieces?)


Basically, it boils down to this: Women are totalling up all the work we do—especially around the holidays—and the list is longer that your alleged journey on Christmas Eve. And not only do we get none of the credit, but in many cases others take the bow. And by others, I mean men, and by men I mean old, white men, and when I say old, white men, I mean you.

Here’s what women do at Christmas: We think of the gifts, we make the money to buy the gifts, we battle the malls, we schlep, we hide, we wrap, we return the gift when we discover our mother-in-law bought the same gift, we start from scratch, and then we sign your name to the card?

It seems this is a bit of a pattern for you. Elves hustle year-round while you bang out one night’s work a year and take the glory. Clowns walk upside down on their hands at your parade for miles and you just chortle in your sled and get all the cheers. Acknowledge and appreciate others’ labour, Santa. In fact, just admit you’re only a figurehead. Tony the Tiger doesn’t pretend he makes the cereal. Colonel Sanders doesn’t insist everyone sit on his lap and tell him a secret before they dig into their bucket. Mr. Peanut knows his job is to just don a monocle and look sexy. Dial back the intensity. Stop pretending you own Christmas.

This year, spread the good cheer and the credit, and maybe—if you’re good—I’ll leave out those snickerdoodles you like.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. We’ve all stopped marvelling at how adorable it is when you leave crumbs and milk rings on the coffee table. Sink and sponge, dude.