Let’s talk about St. Nicholas. You probably refer to him as Santa Claus, which is a corruption of the Dutch name, “Sinter Klaas.” The real Nicholas was born in 270 A.D. in present day Turkey to wealthy parents. His parents died when he was young and left him a lot of cash. He grew up to be a pastor and attended an important ecclesiastical meeting called the Council of Nicea. There Nicholas was in a heated debate over a point of doctrine with another man, and Nicholas punched the other guy in the nose. The police charged him with assault, and Santa Claus spent a night in jail. Not kidding.
Nicholas had plenty of money to buy gifts, and he loved giving presents in secret. He knew a couple who couldn’t marry because the woman didn’t have enough money for a dowry. He crept past her house at night and threw a bag of gold through an open window. The gold fell into the woman’s sock that was hung up to dry. The next morning, the woman found the money – enough to pay the dowry, buy a minivan, and settle in the suburbs. They even had enough left over to get 5G.
I contacted St. Nicholas to confirm these details of his life. He lives in heaven with Jesus and Paul now, and Jesus gave me his number.
Me: Hi, Nicholas. Mind if I ask you a few questions?
Nicholas: Not at all, and thank you for calling because Paul had me cornered and wanted to talk about the Council of Nicea again. That man can talk. It’s hard to get away from Paul when he gets going on theology.
Me: I can only imagine. Tell me, did you really throw a bag of gold coins through a window?
Nicholas: Yep. Six months later I gave an anonymous gift to another poor family. But it was winter, so their windows were closed. I had to climb up a trellis and drop the gold down the chimney. And let me say this. I COULD have slid down that chimney – I was slim enough. But who does that? I’m a bit claustrophobic anyway. Oh, that’s funny. Santa CLAUS is CLAUStrophobic. Here’s what I want to know from you. Do reindeer really carry packages, maybe for some Amazon fulfillment center in northern Canada?
Me: Is there an Amazon fulfillment center in northern Canada? Do people actually live in northern Canada? Mighty cold up there.
Nicholas: The reindeer live up there. Hey, listen, Jessica wants to tell you something.
Me: Who’s Jessica?
Nicholas: My wife. Have you not watched the stop-motion Christmas special, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”?
Me: Oh, yeah, Jessica is the woman with the red hair who has that weird animated solo in the middle of the show.
Nicholas: I thought that solo was odd, too, but I wasn’t the director. Jessica wants to make clear that you people have elves all wrong. J.R.R.Tolkien was a lot closer in the way he portrayed elves. Not only is Elf on the Shelf a terrible idea, but if that’s what an elf looks like, then I’m Voldemort. And that other show, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with the little elf named Hermey who wants to be a dentist? What were they smoking when they made up that plot? Hold on, Jessica is yelling at me. What, honey? Yes, I mentioned the elves. Okay, sorry, I’m back.
Me: I’d better go. I have a little decorative elf, and my cat is trying to eat him again.
Nicholas: Ah, is your cat a Tolkien fan?
Nicholas: Good taste in fiction. Okay, I’ll let you go. Ho, Ho, Ho!
So, friends, follow Nicholas’ example and give people good gifts. But don’t punch any family members in the nose. Unless they’re spreading lies about elves. Then all bets are off.