Six Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Santa Claus

How much do you know about Santa Claus? Most people are unaware of these six basic facts.

Actually, one of the elves probably invented this
Diagrams from Santa’s human-powered sleigh patent (US1419558 A)

1. Santa initially used birds to deliver presents. He ended this practice after receiving many complaints: the owls, hungry after a hard night’s work, would sometimes carry off a family pet, and the swallows were just too slow (an unladen swallow travels about 24 miles per hour, and they’re even slower when carrying gifts). He tried using bats next, but those were considered “too creepy”. Dogs and cats were perceived as friendlier but were often mistaken for gifts themselves. Eventually, Santa decided to deliver all the presents personally. He started with a human-powered sleigh and soon switched to the now-familiar reindeer-powered model.

2. Since its inception in 1790, the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office has issued 437 patents to Santa Claus, including “Method for Rapid Delivery of Items Utilizing Airborne Woodland Creatures”, “System and Method for Calculating Metrics of Naughtiness/Niceness Based On Observed Behavior”, “Aqueous Solution to Facilitate Rapid Movement Through Chimneys or Other Narrow, High-Friction Passageways“, 27 patents related to surveillance technology, and several hundred patents related to toy design and manufacturing.

3. The International Federation of Competitive Eating banned Santa from all eating competitions after the 1997 Extreme Cookies and Milk Challenge. Santa ate all his cookies in record time, grabbed and ate some of his competitors’ cookies, and then got into a brawl with another celebrity contestant over a packet of Oreos held by an audience member. That other contestant, a popular children’s entertainer, later attempted to rehabilitate his image by appearing in a public service announcement.

4. Santa’s patent attorneys have filed over a dozen FOIA requests in an attempt to determine whether the NSA has been using any patented Naughty-or-Nice™ surveillance technology without paying licensing fees. None of those requests has been answered.

5. He performs annual feasibility studies to evaluate the practicality of replacing his Rudolph-based navigation system with GPS. The conclusion is the same every time: while modern commercial GPS devices can store thousands of waypoints, none have the capacity to handle the 447,304,311 destinations that Santa needs to visit. And even if one did, it would take his fastest elf at least 14 years to enter all those addresses into the system.

6. He once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

If you’re feeling lonely or isolated on Christmas, check out Company For Christmas, where a bunch of bloggers will be hanging out throughout the day. I’ll be there from 10pm-12pm PDT on Christmas Eve (in other words, for two hours starting at this time).

A Christmas Poem

I have eaten
the cookies
that were on
the mantel

and which
you had probably
left there
for Santa

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so warm

I have read
the note
that was by
the cookies

and which
you had thoughtfully
for Santa

Forgive me
it was delightful
so sweet
and so warm.

I have burned
the note
that you left
for Santa

and which
would have proven that
there had
been cookies

Forgive me
it was glorious
so bright
and so warm

(with apologies to William Carlos Williams)

The Pop Quiz Before Christmas

1. Where and how were the stockings hung?

a) by the chimney, with care.

b) on the clothesline, haphazardly.

c) in the library, with a rope, by Colonel Mustard.

2. Who were the children waiting for?

a) Saint Nicholas.

b) Godot.

c) Krampus

3. Why does St. Nick employ tiny reindeer instead of regular-sized reindeer?

a) Tiny reindeer have better aerodynamics.

b) Full-sized reindeer would exceed the weight limit specified in most roof warranties.

c) It was an accident. The baby reindeer that St. Nick bought from a pet store developed stunted growth and a variety of other health problems due to the horrible living conditions and poor breeding practices at the reindeer mill where they were born.

4. Visions of sugar plums…

a) danced in the children’s heads.

b) performed acrobatic feats in the children’s stomachs.

c) grew into unhealthy obsessions and, in many cases, eating disorders that lasted well into adulthood. Some of the children refused to eat sugar plums ever again; others would eat nothing but sugar plums.

Happy whatever-you-celebrate. And please, if you decide to bring reindeer into your household, don’t buy them from a pet store — adopt from a local shelter instead.