- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Holiday Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
Do-gooders and political correctness fanatics have gone too far. They've picked on Santa Claus and the Christmas tradition. For hundreds of years, jolly Santa has worked hard, persuaded his elves to complete the toys by the December deadline, and checked his naughty and nice list twice. On Christmas Eve, he has managed without fail to circle the globe and visit every home. His "ho ho ho!" echoes through the night, while his belly jiggles like a bowl full of jelly. But now, some have suggested that an overweight Santa provides an unhealthy image for kids. Equally ridiculous, "ha ha ha!" may be better than "ho ho ho!" because the latter terms means "prostitute" in American slang.
Let's face it: It's mom and dad's eating habits, not Santa's, that influence children. And although many First World countries are facing more and more obese children, which then creates alarming health problems, few kids want to have a large stomach because of Santa Claus. Parents and educators should take more responsibility for the diets of the young. Healthy choices should be recommended and regularly eaten.
Equally troublesome are the attacks on Santa's laugh. Although "ho" may have a negative meaning, only an adult would understand the reference. It's American slang as well, so kids (and possibly adults) elsewhere in the world won't likely understand the problem. If a child still believes in the big guy, the boy or girl will only associate "ho ho ho!" with Santa's laugh.
Will this madness never end? Leave Santa Claus's weight and laugh alone.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "political correctness" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.
Questions: Answer the questions to check comprehension.
- According to the article, what does Santa Claus do all year?
- What have some people suggested for Santa?
- According to the article, who is responsible for obese children?
- What should parents and educators do for obese children?
- Who will understand the negative reference of Santa's laugh?
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What do you think of political correctness? How about in this instance? Why?
- What would you do if Santa's image were changed? Why?
- If Santa's image were modernized, would it somehow change Christmas? Why/not?
- Do you agree that parents and educators should assume more responsibility for children's health?
- Which has a greater influence on children, parents, educators, or the media? Why do you think so?
Google Search: Type "Santa Claus" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.