Rich, poor, or middle-income Santa

By Dr. Melissa Martin - Contributing columnist

Who slides down the chimney in the well-to-do zip codes? Rich Santa. Who slides down the chimney in the inner city slums? Poor Santa. Who slides down the chimney in middle class areas? Middle-income Santa. So, Santa is a member of the American economic class system.

Unless, plastic is used for deck-the-hall decorations, food festivities, and glamorous gifts—then it’s credit card debt Santa Claus. Ho-ho-ho. Charge-charge-charge. Or predatory payday lending debt.—trapping holiday borrowers in a cycle of debt. Ho-ho-ho. Scary Christmas! No-No-No.

Does the Santa at your house shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? It depends on what’s in your wallet. Santa, the ultimate gift-giver, only gives based on the household’s bank account.

As of September 2018, The Pew Research Center reported that 52 percent of American adults were in the middle class, according to 2016 income figures, with 19 percent in the upper class, and 29 percent in the lower class.

What are the different classes? It depends on the model. Many sociologists suggest five: Upper Class – Elite, Upper Middle Class, Lower Middle Class, Working Class, and Poor. Others suggest six social classes: Upper class, New money, Middle class, Working class, Working poor, and Poverty level.

The pretend American Santa owns a toy manufacturing center at the North Pole. He must be a zillionaire because toys are free to all. Does he pay minimum wage or more to his elves? And Santa Claus doesn’t pay taxes—that’s why he’s so jovial.

If Santa touted socialism, kids would receive gifts of the same monetary value. Or each child would receive a gift certificate in the equal amount.

If Santa adhered to communism, there would not be a Christmas or a jolly man in a beard. Bah, humbug.

In the USA, we extol a democratic Santa—presents under the Christmas tree are based upon your parents’ income status.

The USA caters to a socioeconomic Santa. A thinning wallet or shrinking bank-account balance does not make a holly-jolly holiday when the mortgage payment is late.

Poor Santa gets help from churches, charities, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army Angel Tree, and other social service programs. What about temporarily unemployed Santa? No gifts under that tree. Middle-income Santa gets stretched to the limit and often goes over budget. Rich Santa basks in abundance—and excess.

Some parents decide on a Santa-free celebration, according to an article on CNN website. “Their reasons vary: They don’t want to lie, they don’t want to give Santa credit for gifts or they don’t support the North Pole behavior police. Some said they don’t want to set their kids up for a hard fall when they learn the truth. Others said they don’t want to confuse religious celebrations with a marketable myth.”

After-Christmas debt stress and high interest rates make some spenders add more rum to their eggnog. Holiday cheer turns into after-holiday stale beer. Is the financial frenzy worth the worry? Wake-up and smell the fruitcake—stop the overspending Santa.

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” –Theodor Seuss Geisel, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

By Dr. Melissa Martin

Contributing columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.