Saturnalia Psychology in The Santa Attachment to Christmas

December 14th, 2020

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

The Santa Claus story attached to Christmas is a remake of tales of Saint Nicholas, a Christian monk. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas began in 336 when the older pagan celebration of Saturnalia was combined with the commencement of the new celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The intention of doing so was arguably to unite Pagan and Christian people all as Romans, toward national and martial might.

Today the Santa Claus story is separate from, but originates in Christmas, originally instituted, at least in part, for military might. The story is associated with jolly merriment and goodwill, yet frequently induces Santa Claus Syndrome, the distorted doublethink at the root of some of the world’s worst woes, worse than the reinforced stupefying materialism that is a more obvious immediate result of overexposure to the Santa Claus story.

The Santa Claus story is one of the most influential tales in the world because it focuses on the group most susceptible to influence; young children. It is also one of the most taboo subjects to criticize, despite most everyone accepting that it can make people unnecessarily materialistic and nearly always ends up upsetting children. It obviously can result in materialistic cravings, but S.C.S. is much worse than mere materialism. In fact, S.C.S. is taboo to mention in part because S.C.S. hinders our natural inclination to question, to address reality and confront lies.

The Santa Claus story took over Christmas, which basically took over the pagan celebration of Saturnalia. The subject of the Santa Claus story is a rabbit hole of quite some depth, all strata of which reveal how even spiritual ideas are used by authorities to steer thinking and being, even going so far as to institute celebrating aversion to consideration of our thinking and being, and reality in total.

Few people like to consider their consciousness, and for most it’s difficult to accept their thinking and being has been steered, especially when negatively steered by trusted, even revered institutions and celebrations. Alternatively, most everyone is capable of considering, and often quick to point out, how the thinking and being of others, in other cultures, has been steered. So, the more you don’t want to address S.C.S., the more you may benefit from doing so.

Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory – all these have served, in H. G. Wells’s phrase, as Doors in the Wall.” ~Aldous Huxley

Christmas itself is the celebration of the birth of Christ, not the Santa Claus story. The reason for the December date is not because Jesus Christ was indeed born on this day. The reason we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the winter solstice is because of the pagan influences in Rome centuries ago. The Roman rulers wanted the pagan peoples to adopt Christianity and join their societal unit so they could be unified under singular martial rule. The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ the savior was made to correlate with the pagan celebration of Saturnalia, so as to bring the people together, not necessarily in the spirit of unity so much as of martial conformity. This is no diabolical accusation as such compilations of belief happen frequently. Jesus Christ was not born December 25, but the sun is reborn then. Jesus Christ was born when shepherds were in the field, and they would not have been there in December.

Saturnalia was certainly celebrated from December 17th to the 25th as early as 2nd century B.C. and likely well before then. Its exact origins are murky, but it was celebrated in one form or another, centuries before Christmas. The celebration was to mark the sun winning the battle with darkness and the days beginning to lengthen again. The celebration changed over the centuries, but variously the main part was sacrificing celebratory scapegoats, who were intoxicated with food and drink only to meet their demise when the solstice arrived. Such practices continued and developed throughout Europe over the centuries, where Gypsy and Jewish people were frequently made the scapegoats. This does not mean Saturnalia, Christmas, Christianity or Paganism are bad; it means any excuse will serve bad people who want to do bad things.

Really naughty people, usually through institutions, have used all sorts of holy days – the etymological root of the term holiday (from whole and healthy) – to capture the minds of people, so as to steer how people think, know how people think, and institutionalize our thinking into doing what they want. In a sense the Santa Claus story is the biggest series of lies on the planet, because practically everyone in the white western world eats it up and regurgitates it all cyclically. The Santa Claus story is not the worst of the big lies by far, especially when compared to the lies related to nuclear experimentation, and the overall environmental destruction of Earth Mother, or lies that inspire people to kill on behalf of religious, or national institutions – but it is one of the biggest lies, a lie that has traveled farther than many other lies.

The Santa Claus story is among the worst lies for its broad retelling, and because its adverse effects on the impressionable minds of young people prepare them for non-reaction to bigger lies of greater significance. Every little child becomes like a Saturnalia sacrifice eventually, no longer killed, but damaged psychologically. Practically every child is crushed to tears with the truth that Santa Claus does not exist, but the most painful part of the process is learning that everyone lied to them, like it was nothing.

The Jesus Christ story is important and obviously can’t be left out of the idea of Santa Claus Syndrome and the Christmas equation, but there are bigger influences in the celebration today. Jesus Christ arguably plays less of a role in the celebration among most people than does the Santa Claus story. Among the majority who celebrate Christmas, most do not attend church or celebrate their interpretation of Jesus Christ at any other time of the year, and only celebrate his birth without looking into his life and death. Now Christmas is more about the Santa Claus story than Jesus Christ among the collective at least. Many people who celebrate Christmas are more acquainted with Santa Claus and his elves than Jesus and his Apostles.

Whatever one thinks about Jesus Christ and Christianity as a whole is unimportant to The Saturnalia Psychology. I love Jesus Christ because he was a righteous rebel; you may hate him because ideas related to him have been used by institutions to support ideas he’d abhor. I understand that.  You may love Jesus Christ too, but believe what the institutions tell you, and I understand that too. We all are influenced to think certain ways about certain things. However, whatever one thinks about Jesus Christ does not really matter in conceptualizing the Santa Claus story and the effects of Santa Claus Syndrome.

Saint Nicholas is a Christian Saint with a spiritual story full of valuable lessons, but Santa Claus has been turned into a marketing myth, a lie promoted and coordinated by the likes of Coke, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s to sell more products; a lie backed up and supported by Christian churches, the military industrial complex, pine tree growers and all those who make money off the marketing tool or value tradition out of reverence for childhood memories when selfish wants were met. The Santa Claus story sells, and more importantly it teaches.

Selling is probably the original reason Saint Nick and all of the Saints became and remain so popular today. The efficiency of the Santa Claus story as a marketing tool, however, results in eventual childhood pain, from learning we’ve been lied to by basically everyone in the world.  This can result in an adult aversion to questioning the truth of the status quo.  The Pavlovian process of initiation we undergo in learning the world operates on lies, and the truth hurts, can result in animosity to truth.  Instead of the canine craving to be fed, the human craves to avoid the emotional turmoil of facing the truth.

I love Jesus Christ, but Christmas has become an unholy day just because of the materialistic influences the Santa Claus story inspires. And yet the corporatization of Christmas is just scratching the surface of the Santa Claus story. No one will deny that the Santa Claus story is mostly a marketing ploy and that it influences our overall materialism. In fact, it’s been an ongoing discussion – what’s worse is how this leads to S.C.S. and apathy to our own destruction.

Our natural inclination to question godliness, to question institutions, authors and the authorities is sacrificed akin to a Saturnalia psychological torture tradition. The Santa Claus attachment to Christmas tradition is Saturnalia psychological hazing of our youth, training us all to be apathetic to lies and liars, and inept to even pursue our long term survival and/or development.

A Holiday Hazing: The Santa Claus Syndrome

The Santa Claus Syndrome instils more than just materialism and the acceptance of lies. And chances are, if you can recall the names of more than one of Santa’s reindeer, you are likely affected by it in some way.

In his book  A Holiday Hazing: the Santa Clause Syndrome, Ethan Indigo Smith examines the many psychological influences of one of the most widely celebrated traditions the world has ever known, and exposes common beliefs of  ‘self’ and ‘society’ in a way that might make you chuckle, and a little bit angry.

A Holiday Hazing: the Santa Clause Syndrome  is available on Amazon as  an e-book  — just in time for (saving you from) Christmas.

Recommended articles by Ethan Indigo Smith:

About the author:

Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.

You can connect with Ethan on Facebook, check out his author page on Amazon, or visit his new websites, Geometry Of Energy and Meditation 108, where Ethan offers lessons on individuation, meditation, the conceptualization of energy, and the metaphysical significance of 108.

Ethan’s books include:

If you've ever found value in our articles, we'd greatly appreciate your support by purchasing Mindful Meditation Techniques for Kids - A Practical Guide for Adults to Empower Kids with the Gift of Inner Peace and Resilience for Life.

In the spirit of mindfulness, we encourage you to choose the paperback version. Delve into its pages away from screen glare and notifications, allowing yourself to fully immerse in the transformative practices within. The physical book enriches the learning process and serves as a tangible commitment to mindfulness, easily shared among family and friends.

Over the past few years, Wake Up World has faced significant online censorship, impacting our financial ability to stay online. Instead of soliciting donations, we're exploring win-win solutions with our readers to remain financially viable. Moving into book publishing, we hope to secure ongoing funds to continue our mission. With over 8,500 articles published in the past 13 years, we are committed to keeping our content free and accessible to everyone, without resorting to a paywall.