Santa Claus is a mysterious man, so staff at the Rolla Daily News tried to get the bottom of this enigma and find out more about this individual who is know by so many names – Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and Jolly Old St. Nick!
Is there really a Santa?
What a question to ask. Think about it: has the man ever let you down? With hundreds of millions of children to visit in one night, he always manages to show up at your house. It's an astonishing feat, and ought to inspire a little faith.
Besides, he's been at this for centuries. Sure, his methods have changed some over the years — and sometimes he changes his outfit. But if you had the same job for ages and ages, wouldn't you try to spice it up a little? Santa is as real as you are - and just a bit more magical.
Why is Santa Claus so fat? (Sorry old man, but it's true)
His doctors are concerned about this, but there's really nothing they can do. Children everywhere seem set on leaving milk and cookies out for the old man and Santa can't bring himself to pass them up.
The tradition comes from Germany where cookies were used to decorate Christmas trees. Seeing signs that Santa had snacked on the decorations, children started leaving cookies for the visitor on plates near the chimney.
The custom spread and Santa's waistline expanded. It's a good thing Santa is immortal because his cholesterol levels are somewhat in excess of accepted guidelines. Perhaps, if rumors of a new health club at the North Pole are true, he'll slim down this year.
Why does he wear a red suit?
It's a good, eye-catching color for a white-haired man. It's also something he's used to: one of his first jobs was as a bishop in what became Turkey, where his garb included a red gown.
As his legend grew in the years thereafter, St. Nick found himself changing colors to suit local tastes. As time carried on, the old traditions again asserted themselves.
Several popular artists depicted Santa Claus in red, freeing him to make the most of his public appearances in his favorite color.
How does he know if you've been bad or good?
This isn't something Santa likes to discuss, for obvious reasons. Some of his methods are beyond explanation, while others may violate federal wiretapping laws.
Long the subject of speculation among intelligence experts, Santa's surveillance apparatus relies on both 21st century technology and old-fashioned elfin spying.
At last estimate, the Monitoring Agency for Goodness in Children (MAGIC) employed 500 million elves, fairies and gnomes to observe child behavior worldwide. MAGIC uses a weighted point system to determine the significance of various valiant and reprehensible deeds (generosity is especially valued; selfishness and sibling-smacking are deemed particularly awful).
Page 2 of 2 - Tabulated results are added to Santa's master list, which is checked twice to discern the naughty from the nice. The agency assures us that Santa never forgets anyone. Receiving material gifts is by no means a measure of any child's MAGIC rating.
Will Santa ever die?
Not a chance. He's already older than the oldest trees in California and he shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he's survived several shocks that would have done in men a tenth of his age.
What's hardest on him is news of naughtiness - not so much the childish variety, but the far-more-inexcusable grown-up kind. He often wonders why human beings can't be kinder to each other.
But of course it's his job to move the whole world to wonder about such things, so he won't give up now. Santa Claus will live forever - or at least as long as children believe in him.
He'd like us to recognize that we can all be Santa Clauses to one another and create magic in our own corners of the world.