By Graeme McMillan
Parents! Your child refusing to fall for the idea that Santa does everything he's supposed to by "magic"? We thought we'd help out and provide some scifi explanations for Ol' Saint Nick, just in case.
Let's look beyond the whole "Living in the North Pole and having an army of elves to do his bidding" thing - After all, that part will always be cool, no matter what. The problem that today's media-savvy younglings have with Father Christmas isn't his product placement deal with Coke, but his modus operandi. You can prove, thanks to NORAD and the internet that Santa Claus exists and does all his deliveries in one night, but how can you explain his speedy deliveries? We've come up with five possibilities to try out on uninformed brains.
In a world where we're told that small Japanese men can teleport across time and space just by blinking hard, why would it be so unusual to suggest that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer isn't a magical flying reindeer, but instead a superpowered teleporting one? It even sounds, uh, convincing-esque: "With one blink of his glowing nose, he can bend space on itself and take Santa to wherever he needs to be." Suddenly, Santa's reindeer become an animal version of the X-Men, allowing you to explain that Prancer and Dancer and Donner and Blitzen aren't any stupider names than Dazzler or Gambit (After all, there are already superheroes called Donner and Blitzen).
What if there was more than one Santa? That would easily explain how gifts can appear all across the world in one night, but if each man in this generous army happened to be the same man, then the mystique of Santa Claus is preserved - and, as an additional bonus, your child will be given another example of why scientific research into genetics (and specifically, cloning) is a good thing. An example that doesn't happen to be a prematurely-dead sheep.
Specifically, super-speed. This part of the Santa-myth has always been taken as read, I think; how else could he travel all around the world in one night? But in an era where popular culture is so dominated by superheroes that Will Smith is still allowed to walk the streets after Hancock, anyone who doesn't point out that Santa was the first superhero ever (Well, potentially the second, depending on how you want to play that whole "Jesus" thing) is missing a potential PR coup. Just get him to lose a little bit of that gut and maybe have a shave, and everyone will see what I'm getting at. He already has the distinctive outfit.
What if the elves build more than just games and toys for girls and boys up there in their workshop? Yes, it may have only been six years ago that Santa realized what a webcam was for (Please, no cheap jokes; children may be reading), but who's to say that that wasn't some kind of public relations fake-out to keep us from realizing just how technologically advanced the Santa Operation really is? If the technical wizards at SantaLabs had created a time machine, it would explain not only how he was able to visit all the good homes in one night, but also what he's doing for the rest of the year - Namely, traveling back in time to Christmas Eve to take care of deliveries. Or to check on who's naughty or nice. Don't worry, though; he always stays on the path.
How does every child get exactly what they want from Santa, anyway? Some say that the answer has something to do with very stressed parents trying to avoid a Christmas Morning Meltdown, but we'd rather point to nanotechnology that manages to reconfigure itself into each child's dream toy. Consider it Schrödinger's Present - before the stocking is discovered, what's inside is everytoy; it's only once the gift is opened that it settles into a permanent state as the ideal present. You may wonder just how the gifts manage to know what their ideal form is, and all we can say is... magic.
Well. You have to let the old guy keep some secrets, after all.