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Parents explain why children of color need to see a Black Santa for inclusive holiday experience

Parents affirm the importance of Black Santa for children, emphasizing cultural representation and inclusive holiday traditions.

Parents explain why children of color need to see a Black Santa for inclusive holiday experience
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project, TODAY | Mariyah Gerber

Christmas is approaching and with it, many kids will be brimming with excitement to meet Santa and get their gifts. However, one aspect of Santa that many people overlook is his skin color. While it wasn't a big deal back in the day, more people are coming to realize how important Santa's representation is, especially from a child's perspective. Rebecca Kaiser, a mother hailing from Charlestown, Massachusets, is a mother who goes the extra mile in terms of providing a wider cultural representation for Santa.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

She tolf TODAY, "The second Labor Day hits, I order Black Santa pajamas." Kaiser's two children, Haven, aged nine, and Zeke, aged six, love these pajamas. These pajamas also come in three different colors: beige, walnut, or cocoa, on the Old Navy website from where they were purchased. Kaiser and her wife, Natalie Wagner, come from different racial backgrounds, which is why the couple decided to put in the extra effort to make sure that their adopted children felt represented everywhere.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

Kaiser added, "When it comes to the holidays, we have always looked at this as an extension of the importance of cultural representation so that they can see that someone as magical and as amazing as Santa can be Black like them too." Their efforts do not stop there as they take Haven and Zeke to visit a Black Santa physically in Boston's Nubian Square. If your area does not have a Black Santa, you can always schedule a video call with Mr and Mrs. Claus using this website. The more we start examining the lack of cultural representation when it comes to Santa, it becomes clear that there needs to be some kind of change.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

Mariyah Gerber, based in Queen Creek, Arizona, shared that her grandma used to paint Santas when she was a child. This was because her family was unable to find non-white Santa decorations and resorted to painting the ones they got so they felt represented. Gerber distinctly remembers the efforts her grandmother took to paint the Santas, which is why she gets excited when she sees Black Santas in major stores, having become a mother herself. She said, "Now my son gets to grow up and there's options if he wants to get a Santa Claus that looks like him. Not only do they just have Black Santas, but they'll have mixed race Santas."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Marta Wave
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Marta Wave

According to Gerber, seeing so many more Black Santas served as a welcome reminder that things were beginning to change, which made her quite happy. Colette Brown, a therapist based in New York, shared that she felt kids needed to see non-white Santas. She explained, "Psychological research shows that role models who reflect the child’s identity and experience have a positive impact upon the development of self-esteem which leads to improved academic performance, self-confidence and mental wellness." It also helped that they would see themselves "reflected" in Santa, aiding their overall well-being.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Representative Image Source: Pexels | RDNE Stock project

Brown is a mother to a biracial daughter and has visited both white and non-white Santas over the years. She would take her daughter to Macy's in midtown, making a specific request to visit "Mr. Claus," which used to be a codename for seeing a Black Santa. Currently, Macy's has multiple options when it comes to Santas and the process is easier. People can choose between meeting a Black, Caucasian, or even a Spanish-speaking Santa. Such efforts go a long way in ensuring such an iconic figure is widely represented.

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