Is Santa Claus A Phallic Symbol?
from a Hong Kong school system which emphasized rote memory, stressful
testing situations, and very rigorous quantitative skills, while de-emphasizing
creativity, individual growth, and self-exploration, my American boarding
school experience was like a whole new world. And not too unexpectedly,
I resisted attempts in English classes to read too deep into the text
and into "hidden symbolisms". Not that they don't exist, but
that it seemed to be much in the eye of the beholder.
During those last two
years of English literature, I always wanted to articulate why there was
something very dangerous in reading too deeply, and I think I found it
in Santa Claus. Why?
Because Santa Claus is
very obviously a phallic symbol of fertility. Let us start with his appearance.
He is dressed in red, and characterized as chubby if not outright engorged.
His otherwise rosy face is covered with a thick mat of white hair. How
much more can the penis be represented in a mythical character? During
Christmastime, he climbs down chimneys to deliver presents. Chimneys are
long and dark orifices to the home, which is a symbol of nurturance and
also femininity. Chimneys are also connected to fireplaces and thus there
is also an implication of smoldering warmth that is connected with this
long and dark passage that is obviously a representation of the female
Santa Claus, a phallic
symbol, now has to slip through the chimney, a symbolic representation
of the vagina, to enter the house, a place saturated with femininity.
Once inside, he has to deliver small gifts that he has created to place
under the Christmas tree. The presents are obviously representing the
male sperm. And the Christmas tree, in its classical triangular shape,
is a female symbol that is ornamented with metallic jewellery and decorated
with colorful swirls. Santa Claus then places his presents under the skirts
of the Christmas tree, accomplishing the symbolic sexual intercourse.
And so, the next time
you tell young children about Santa Claus, realize what you're really
telling them is about pure and uninhibited sex.