You’re Shit Outta Luck, Virginia
by Chris White
“Is there really a Santa Claus?”
It’s the holiday season question posed by every child at some point. Once a kid has gotten old enough to develop a healthy sense of skepticism, the whole Santa Claus story seems a tad suspicious. Even more fishy: No reputable journalist had EVER attempted a thorough investigation of this red-suited charlatan. Until I did, that is. I recently decided the time had come to poke around the North Pole and see if this Santa scenario held water. Or egg nog, in this case.
I started by carefully considering what we think we know about this mysterious gift-bringer, apart from his expert-level breaking and entering skills. According to Wikipedia, he is “a fantasy figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins.” Then again, that describes other figures whose existance is equally questionable, such as the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, unicorns and honest members of Congress.
We know that this Santa Claus character operates under various pseudonyms: Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas and Kris Kringle. In many parts of the world, he is said to bring gifts to good children between midnight Christmas Eve and dawn on Christmas morning. I suppose it’s merely coincidence that the Dutch mythological figure Sinterklaas also leaves presents for children — though Sinterklaas leaves candy or Mandarin oranges in the shoes of the kids. Try leaving an orange as the sole gift for an American kid and you’ll wind up the subject of a lawsuit faster than you can say “breach of promise.” I have a theory that little Charlie Manson never got over finding an orange under the tree on Christmas morning instead of the G.I. Joe he’d asked for, and the rest is history.
British folklore character Father Christmas is another Santa clone, though Father Christmas wears green, rides a goat and brings alcohol, and to be honest, that describes half the participants in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Italy actually has a witch, La Befana, who comes down the chimney and brings gifts. Talk about potential for scarring little psyches: the person responsible for judging young Luigi’s behavior and dropping off his loot has a sour, twisted, evil face and cackles like a maniac. I’ll lay even money no one has ever seen La Befana and Ann Coulter in the same room.
Here in the states, Santa Claus is generally depicted as a joyous, rotund man with a flowing white beard, a red velvet outfit with white trim and a black leather belt and matching boots. He loves all children and carries around a large sack filled with toys for them. Remove the beard and add a little clown makeup and you’ve just described John Wayne Gacy.
So this questionable Santa character supposedly spends most of the year making a list of children, categorized by behavior. The “nice” kids are given toys and candy and the “naughty” ones get coal (presumably “clean” coal, so as to neatly sidestep any EPA regulations). His many accomplices in this endeavor include toy-making elves and flying reindeer — which also happen to be (along with the incessantly babbling ghost of Jim Morrison) the most common hallucinations experienced during LSD trips.
We’re expected to believe that Santa’s North Pole workshop employs tiny pointy-eared humanoids, who happily work 24/7 so that rich little 6-year-old Tyler Worthmore III of Greenwich, CT, can find a working mini-Ferrari with a 5-horsepower motor parked under his tree come Christmas morning. And that Santa’s delivery system of choice is not FedEx, but a team of hooved marauders who somehow manage to land on the roofs of hundreds of millions of houses without dislodging a single DirectTV satellite dish. With nary a criminal trespassing charge filed, to boot. Does that sound plausible to you?
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.
Let’s take a closer look at that Elven sweatshop run by Mr. Claus. The working conditions there are bound to be deplorable, but strangely, not a single complaint has ever been filed with OSHA. Management positions are non-existent, too. Sure, there’s a Head Elf, but that’s less a job title than a description of the manner in which the poor little schmuck is expected to service the jolly fat man.
Every December, kids take out pen and paper and write letters to Santa, detailing the gifts they’d like to receive. At least most kids do. My mom had me rip pictures out of the Sears catalog and send them to Santa. I’m convinced Santa stopped bringing me presents because he thinks I’m an illiterate, lazy turd with horrendous taste in department stores.
On Christmas Eve, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. In Britain and Australia, he is often given sherry or beer and mince pies, while in Sweden and Norway, children leave rice porridge. In Ireland, it’s Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding. Jesus, no wonder the guy is overweight. He outsources all the manual labor to his North Pole leprechauns 364 days a year, then on the one day he actually gets off his fat ass and does some work, he replaces every calorie he spends by stuffing his face with 1000 more.
You’d think Christian leaders would denounce Santa Fraud, but oddly, most of them simply look the other way as he steals Jesus’s birthday. Not all, though: The Calvinists hated the very thought of Santa Claus. Then again, it’s hard to take seriously the rants of people who base their entire faith on a cartoon child with a stuffed tiger.
At one point, my investigation was getting nowhere and I realized it would be necessary to find this Mr. Claus and talk to him in person, face to face. Since his North Pole compound is mysteriously hidden, I chose to intercept him at one of his many hideouts: department stores and malls. That’s right, like many mob bosses, Santa hides in plain sight, idly passing the time talking to children who wait hours to sit in his lap and either gush about the presents they want or scream bloody murder until an embarrassed parent snatches them away and stammers an apology. I recall one such episode from my own childhood, when I, seated in the lap of a particularly obese Santa, whispered into his ear: “My daddy says you’re not REALLY Santa.” He smiled his benevolent smile and said, “Ho, ho, ho! I hear he’s not REALLY your daddy!”
So I decided I’d approach this jerk at Christmas Ground Zero: Macy’s in New York City. Every year, he arrives at the store by sleigh on the last float of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and proceeds to take over an entire floor of the store. Day after day, I waited patiently in line, only to be unceremoniously evicted from the premises every time by security guards long before I could get a single answer out of that fat asswipe.
In fact, the thousands of calls I’ve made to department stores and malls in an attempt to arrange an interview with Santa have resulted only in a stack of cease-and-desist letters from lawyers with surnames ending in -berg and -stein. Why would Jewish people feel the need to protect someone who ignores their children every December 25th? My theory: Santa Claus is an evil man who strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who crosses his path.
So to answer your question, Virginia… Yes, there is indeed a Santa Claus. But he’s one shady, shady character. You’d be better off placing your hopes for holiday joy on some other rotund, kind-hearted person who has a reputation for bestowing gifts on people. Like Oprah Winfrey.
Chris White is the long-time owner/editor of TopFive and HumorLabs.