Last year I penned a very helpful guide for using geek pop culture to explain away some of the more questionable aspects of Santa's yearly visits. The sleigh uses Time Lord technology to hold all the presents, he can visit everywhere at once because it is equipped with an improbability drive, and so on and so on.
This year, I opened up the floor to friends and family to address any aspects of Santa's existence I might have left out in order to do a sequel. The things kids asked surprised me, but I'll do my best to live up to my previous quality. So here we go.
Why is Santa Claus at the Mall (And at Bass Pro Shop, Apparently)?
The Santa Claus that you see around town at various functions are rarely, but not never, the real Santa Claus. These picture opportunities are both a good source of income to fund Christmas, and a vital part of his marketing data.
Any business can submit a request for a Santa. Candidates who are hired generally imbibe polyjuice potion before each shift in order to fully embody the man himself, a supply of which is purchased from Santa Claus Inc. That is one of the reasons Santa has a beard and long hair all the time, for use as a magic ingredient.
Conversations between kids and these Santas are relayed wirelessly through the North Pole call center staffed by elves. Elves may also offer advice through headsets. Occasionally, Santa will fulfill appearances himself. The Santa in the Macy's Parade is always the real one, except for in 1968 when he was enlisted to stop an alien invasion by S.P.I.D.E.R.
How Does Santa and the Reindeer Live at the North Pole Without Freezing?
Santa doesn't have to worry about freezing (We'll get to that in a minute). Nonetheless, his various workers and livestock do, and there is the matter of raising food and other necessities in the harshest environment on the Earth. The truth is Santa doesn't live at the North Pole at all.
He lives under it.
It all began as a collaboration with president John Quincy Adams. Adams believed that the Earth was hollow, and agreed to send an explorer named John Cleves Symmes Jr. to investigate the matter and possibly open up trade negotiations with mole people. This happened to come up at a time when Santa was in negotiations with the United States to expand acceptance of Christmas in the country (Many felt the celebration was too pagan).
Intrigued by conversations with Adams on the subject, Santa offered to help fund the trip in return for the right to promote Christmas in America. Unfortunately, though Adams happily signed off on the idea much of it fell apart when he lost his bid for reelection to staunch flat Earther Andrew Jackson.
In the end, Santa decided he would use the opening to the inner Earth as a home base for his operation, a decision that has served him well as it remains a neutral political base free from war or other distractions. Also, the mole people were very helpful establishing a snug and cozy underground habitat fit for people. Does Santa Know God, and Do They Hang Out Together at the North Pole?
Santa does know God. He is a saint after all. No, they do not regularly hang out because they are both very busy, but they usually make it a point to meet up once a century at the White Horse Tavern in England. These round table get togethers include Cartaphilus, Lucifer, the King of Dreams, and a man named Hob Gadling. It's supposed to be a very good party.
Is Krampus Real?
Krampus is what happens when Bavarians drink too much during long cold winters. No, there is not a demon named Krampus who accompanies Santa and kidnaps naughty children. That's just grown people trying to take back some of the territory Christmas has annexed from Halloween.
That being said, the legend is not wholly inaccurate. Blitzen was discovered out in the wild by Professor Hojo of the Shinra Corporation, who brought him back to his lab to experiment upon. His procedures infused Blitzen with the ability to transform into a hulking, bipedal figure that was both powerful and monstrous looking. Blitzen escaped when the Shinra lab was burned to the ground by Sephiroth in the early '90s.
Since then, Blitzen has maintained control over the form, and can shift at will to counter any threats to Santa's present run. It's these appearances that have been responsible for the recent resurgence of the legend in the last couple of decades. Don't worry. Though dangerous if angered or attacked by the enemies of Christmas, Blitzen remains a good-hearted and faithful member of the team. Make sure you leave an apple for him, as the fruit helps regulate certain chemicals in his new body.
Does Santa Actually Eat the Milk and Cookies
Sometimes yes. A snack is always nice on the trip, but the primary purpose of leaving out milk and cookies is actually part of an old compromise between Santa and the elves in order to deal with rampant unemployment among the English brownie population.
Traditionally brownies would be enticed into homes to help with household chores after the family was asleep by leaving out gifts of sugar, milk, honey or porridge. As the practice fell into disuse, the brownie communities were left out of work.
Santa agreed to spread the milk and cookies idea for Christmas in order to snag overtime for the brownies, as well as ease the stress of families who tend to have a lot more housework around the holidays. Why Doesn't Santa Age?
Due to his friendship with The Doctor, as well as the The Doctor's occasional claims to be Santa, it's been theorized that Santa is in actuality a Time Lord capable of regeneration. This is false. Santa is a vampire.
Now before you get all scared, know this. Santa Claus has never drunk human blood in his entire life. His need for it is curtailed through an elixir produced by the vampire Joshua York. His nutritional needs are otherwise fulfilled through regular consumption of normal human fare.
There have been many "monsters" employed in the Church over the centuries, and St. Nicholas was one of them. There's even a famous case where he used the regenerative powers of his blood to restore three children to life back before he became Santa. It was one of the miracles that got him canonized after his "death" when he began the Christmas project.
This explains his nocturnal habits. He can go out in the day, but it's taxing on him. He is functionally immortal, as is his wife through years of exposure to his blood. He cannot enter a home without being invited, which is why children that do not believe in Santa do not receive a visit. Nor does the cold of the North Pole trouble him.
Vampires, by the way, are in general huge fans of Christmas because of their famous hero, and his example has led to a peaceful if hidden cohabitation between us and them for hundreds of years. Have you ever lived next to someone who seemed like they put up an incredible Christmas light display in the middle of the night? Odds are a vampire lives there.
And From a Parent... Why Do You Lie to Your Children?
I struggled with joining in with the Santa Claus story at first. I didn't really want to lie to my tiny trusting daughter. Wouldn't it hurt her to believe and then be crushed by the evidence against the existence of Santa?
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I realized, though, that belief in Santa is important to a child. They need something magical that comes without the strings sometimes attached to religion, and they can sense an adult's honest enthusiasm for the game. Together you imagine a world of wonders so hard you can almost touch it here in the dead, dark heart of winter being held back with love and lights.
Then yes, they find out that there isn't a man that comes 'round once a year just to make you happy. That lesson is also important, because it is a test of your faith.
One day, if you've passed that test, you realize that Santa is in fact real. Oh not the fairy tale, that's just an allegory to give him shape in the world. No, Santa exists in the boundless imaginations of children, the willingness of people to use all their resources to make a loved one smile with a present, and most of all as a sense of kindness. The man that comes in the night with presents ad the fulfillment of wishes is all men who desire the smiles of the ones they love.
Because in the end, the story of Christmas, indeed of all winter festivals when you get right down to it, is that someone cares enough to go to so much trouble, and to bring a little glow to the gloom when the world is tilted. We all, young and old, need to believe that if we are to ever be it ourselves.