Independent Claus

The Santa Claus myth is alive and well in our home. Our five-year-old believes and so do his younger sibs. How long this will last is a mystery. We’ve already identified the schoolmates we think will burst the bubble. (In fact we did this years ago.)

But the real problem may not be an informant friend, we’re coming to realize. There are just too many opportunities to see Santa Claus out and about these days. Any half-witted kid will soon realize it isn’t possible for Santa to be at the mall, on the L, at the neighborhood party, on TV, and at school all within a week and, somehow, never looking quite the same. Now, you may argue that this wouldn’t raise suspicion since children gleefully accept Santa’s trans-global physics-defying* gift delivery trip on Christmas Eve. The difference is that the many encounters of Santas throughout the too-long Christmas season are a much more local, tangible phenomenon than the concept of an unseen Santa flitting through the night sky. And kids are uncanny at pattern recognition with local, tangible things.

Now, I’m not about to throw in with the War on Christmas pundits. In some ways this is the opposite: too much Christmas, not enough room for imagination. My wife actually wanted to talk strategy about how we’d answer if my son asked “Is this the real Santa?” at the local neighborhood festival. I didn’t think we should say that he wasn’t real. Why even plant the seed that there is such a thing as an unreal Santa? We’d just explain that Santa can be in many places quickly, like magic. I’ve polled some of my friends and I seem to be in the minority with this stance. Some friends call Rent-a-Clauses “Santa’s Helpers.” But aren’t his helpers elves? And why would a helper dress up exactly like him? Seems a stretch to me.

Parents, how are you dealing with this?

[*] There’s a rebuttal to the classic Physics of Santa argument. Of course he uses an ion shield. Duh!

6 Responses to “Independent Claus”

  1. cbjg says : – You Better Watch Out

  2. GC says :

    All that I know is that NORAD tracks Santa’s progress across the US every year.
    If Santa is real enough for the men and women of the United States’ armed services, he’s real enough for me.
    Every year we say a prayer and hope that Santa’s sleigh is not confused with an inbound ICBM coming over the arctic circle and sparking nuclear holocaust. But you probably don’t need to bring that up with Nathan…

  3. SBA says :

    Having been a docent at the MCA where the most frequently asked question by children was “Why is this art?”, I have found myself answering the “Who the hell is that guy?” question with a similar response. (Note: My children do not say hell. I promise.)
    The Santa stand-ins are classically trained Santas. They go to years of Santa school to be given the title of “Santa”. Some of them have even studied under THE Santa.
    Clearly, THE Santa is far too busy right now (with the elves) to be appearing all over the world at every street corner, etc, so Santa needs his calvary of trained Santas to help him.
    Again the key, “classically trained.”

  4. Santa says :

    When a Child ask me if I am the real Santa, I turn it back to them and ask them if they think I am the real Santa. 99.9% of the time I get a yes. I then tell them that is all that matters is what you think. My elves are my helpers here at the North Pole. However due to the fact that my ion shield is only good for a certain amount of space, I have helper Santas’ or as some prefer to call them “rent a Santa”. They report to the evles every night as to the events of the day.
    The elves then enter that into a big main frame computer and I check it out on my laptop if I am away from home, or my PC while I am at the Pole.

  5. chris says :

    What do you mean by “real Santa,” John? I mean, of course Santa is real, right? Right?!

  6. 2B's says :

    A child’s logic is a scary thing regarding this topic. Tommy (soon to be 4 in January) was recently inquiring why Santa doesn’t get burned going down all those chimneys. He’s also confused as to why the reindeer have to wait on the roof while Santa has all the fun in the houses. Despite all the interest in Santa, he couldn’t be any more afraid of getting near him! “No daddy, I will just write him a letter!!!”