Tricky Questions about Santa

Christmas is coming – and it’s time to prepare for the most daunting part of the holiday season, familiar to anyone who knows young children. Yes, we have to convince them once again that Santa Claus exists.

Sadly, children – caught up in the intellectual mind – are becoming Santa-atheists earlier than than they used to. The joy, the spirit of Christmas is leaving them as more and more people tell them that Santa’s not real. How could they possibly think that? Santa and his reindeer In the past, it would be enough for their parents to say to them: “Of course he’s real!” Their faith in their parents would put things right. But nowadays, they process this information with somewhat more scepticism. They have several points to make. This is how to reply to their trickier questions… How can Santa be at every kid's house in the world exactly at midnight every Christmas? Why not? Television allows our favourite stars to appear in millions of homes at once, at exactly the same time. The internet does the same. Let’s just say that Santa can bulk-email himself to everyone’s house simultaneously. It’s as easy as clicking on the Send option. Santa, of course, can use far more sophisticated technology than television or the internet. He doesn’t just send an email, but his whole self, along with a sack of presents. Currently, this hi-tech software is only used by Santa, Bill Gates and the US Military. In 10 years’ time, we’ll all have it – which will save us a bundle in air fares.

Of course, if they still don't believe that Santa can be everywhere at the same time without crashing the system, this is an ideal time to teach them about global time zones. (Good idea! Thanks to Skype and other online phone-calling systems, kids everywhere are now able to phone the other end of the world at their leisure, free of charge. Please explain to them about time differences!)

I don’t have a chimney or a fireplace. How does Santa enter my house? Santa keeps up with the times – and the latest technology. If he needs to find a way to enter through the electrical heating system, what’s to stop him? Reindeer can’t fly! This was always a difficult one. At first, Santa tried using eagles, but even though they could fly, they were pretty useless when it came to pushing his sleigh. Then he tried sled dogs, who (after several weeks of travel) were able to bring presents to all the kids in northern Finland. Unfortunately, as they couldn’t cross the sea, that was as far as they could go. Aeroplanes were also a no-no, for environmental reasons. So Santa Labs (fresh from producing the first chemistry sets and computer games) genetically engineered a few reindeer, so they could fly at hundreds of times the speed of light.

Unethical? Well, just try saying that to the millions of children who look forward to their gifts each year! This is one area where even animal liberationists are happy to turn a blind eye. Besides, Donner, Blitzen, Prancer and the others have been helping Santa for hundreds of years, which is considerably longer than most reindeer life spans. So there are some fringe benefits to being a genetically-engineered super-reindeer. If Santa has all those millions of cookies and glasses of milk that are left out for him on Christmas Eve, won’t he get fat? News flash: Santa is fat! This is very useful, as he needs all the body fat he can get to withstand the extreme cold of the North Pole. Unfortunately, after Christmas, he’s so tired that he usually goes straight to bed for another 11 months. When he wakes up, he’s too busy organising schedules and making toys, so he hardly has a chance to have a decent lunch break. Quite simply, the milk and cookies are not just a friendly gesture; they are ESSENTIAL for Santa’s body fuel! How can Santa afford all those toys? This one used to stump me. But then, last year, I noticed that all of my nephew's Christmas toys were labelled with the names of toy companies: Fisher Price, Lego, Mattel…

I knew the truth, of course. These toys are made by Santa’s elves! Obviously, however, he accepts sponsorship from all these major multinational companies. He must be making a mint! He should easily be able to afford materials, transport, reindeer feed and salaries (especially as elves, being magical, can work for a lower minimum wage). No problem. Why does Santa dress so warm, even when it’s summer? This is a question we've always asked in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and anywhere else in the southern hemisphere where a white Christmas is unheard-of (except in old songs). Of course, with all the milk and cookies, Santa wants to lose a bit of weight, for health reasons. As any athlete knows, nothing burns off fat more easily than sweat. Santa really looks forward to visiting Australian kids (especially those kids in the piercing Sun of the Outback), so that he can sweat away the calories. If Santa’s been carting around sacks of toys for over a thousand years, why doesn’t he have a bad back? For Christmas last year, Santa was given a very good chiropractor! (I'm not sure who gave it to him.)