Is there a prohibition of dressing up as Santa Claus to make money Halachically speaking?

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1 Answer 1


Rabbi David Samson (writing on yeshiva.co) writes:

Jewish law states that a person should not behave in the ways of idol worshipers1. Nor is one allowed to dress in a garment that is unique to them2. There is an opinion, however, that permits wearing their garments, as long as a part of the garb is missing. Therefore, if you were to wear the Santa Claus suit with a shtreimmel and not Santa’s funny red hat, that might be a way of taking the job and still remain within the parameters of Jewish law3.

Furthermore, it is forbidden for a Jew to say that he is a gentile, even if one’s life is endangered. To save one’s life, a Jew is allowed to wear the clothes of a gentile. However, to dress up as Santa for monetary reward, there doesn’t seem to be any permission for this4. In a similar vein, it is forbidden to wear a green hat, the type that the followers of Mohammed wear5.

Finally, fooling children into believing that there really is a Santa Claus is putting a stumbling block in front of the blind, and, by doing so, one adds credibility to the other legends of the holiday as well. This is a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of G-d's Name6.

1. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 178:1.
2. Rama, there.
3. Beit Shlomo, Yoreh Deah, Part One, 196.
4. Yoreh Deah, 157:2.
5. Responsa, Kehunat Olam, Vol. 1:74.
6. Responsa, B’Marei HaBazak, Vol. 3, Question 110.

(credit: sam)

  • I take issue with that last paragraph. Most families who celebrate Christmas do not do so as a religious celebration. But even for those who do, Santa Claus was an advertising campaign; the figure may have been inspired by St. Nicholas, but there’s not much else that connects him to Christianity at all, much less Christmas. You want to argue Chillul Hashem for keeping up the lie? Maybe. But you’d have to say it’s forbidden to play tooth fairy while you’re at it. Certainly Lifnei Iveir isn’t an issue, given that it’s irrelevant to the religiosity of the day.
    – DonielF
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 22:41

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