This article originally appeared in the War on Christmas Issue.

Teenagers today navigate a treacherous online landscape. Between the pressure cooker of social media slacktivism, targeted ads for egg donations and Birthright trips, and the unattainable standards of living up to your rising sign, young people are under a lot of stress. As a result, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between normal teenage malaise and a more serious problem.

As a self-proclaimed “hip” mom, I thought I’d seen it all. I understood sexy snapchats and horned-up tweets as healthy milestones in my teen’s sexual development. I raised my kid right: sex-positive, carbon-neutral and dairy-free. But nothing could have prepared me for my daughter’s disgusting obsession with one milk-guzzling, reindeer-abusing, organized religion-peddling, capitalist chub-daddy. That’s right: my teen was sexting Santa.

Turns out, I wasn’t alone. Each year during Mariah Carey’s inevitable two month reign, mothers across the globe uncover lewd texts sent from our children’s phones, forwarded to us by some good samaritan hacker organization known as “iCloud.” No one ever thinks their kid will be the next “Santa baby,” but it’s important to recognize the following warning signs:

All of your candy cane-flavored lingerie is gone: Unlike your own C.L.A.U.S. (Coitally Lacking And Unavailable Spouse), Santa never gets tired of this flavor.

Their texting vernacular has changed: Words like “Sleigh” and “Ho” may seem like normal slang appropriated by your child from the black LGBT community, but don’t be fooled: “Vixen” is not reclamatory.

You receive a nude from your child followed by a text that says “Sorry, I thought you were Santa”: At this point you need to take action. If cementing the chimney and replacing the eggnog with oat milk doesn’t work, you can always convert to Judaism, though remember that Satan finds ways to defile every religion. Be sure to check out my next article, “4 Signs Your Teen is Using Dreidels as Buttplugs.”


—T. Battles