Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa Claus's Powers vs. Santa Claus's Science

Father Christmas using the powers of science to deliver presents.

My daughter is a little odd. Yeah, I know that's not really a big surprise. But a few weeks ago while discussing Santa Claus, I made some mention of him being magic, a charge which she quickly and adamantly denied. She said that Santa wasn't magic. I tried to explain that he was and she shot me down again, very adamant that he was not. Any time that I've brought something up about Santa, she's flatly denied that Santa does it with magic and instead uses "science" to perform whatever task. Then again, this is also the girl who drew me, Jessica, Isaac and Jo pictures of her "hypothesis". Anyhow, these have been interesting and entertaining (to me) discussions about Santa, so I thought I would take our review style and interview my daughter about Santa's powers, so that I can keep it and show it to her later.  Now, this isn't a review of Santa Claus; I'm sure he would get a ton of stars, suns and moons. However, this is just a dialogue about how my daughter "scientifically" explains how Santa works.

Molly: (As usual, I'll be transcribing as much as I can from what she says. We're at my computer and I'll be typing up what we are saying as we talk and I'll go back and format it afterward. Her review will be in Q&A form due to her age. She's sitting next to my computer as we do this.)  

Chuckie: So tell me what you know about Santa Claus.
Molly: Um, he makes toys. And he has, he has--Rudolph has a shiny nose. And then, so, so, then, um, the other ones liked him. And Santa's elves wrap up presents and put them onto him sleigh and then he delivers them to the good girls and the good boys.

Chuckie: Okay, so you and I have been talking about this: Do you think Santa is magic?
Molly: Um, no.
Chuckie: Why not?
Molly: Because he does it all with science.

Chuckie: Well, his reindeer fly. Isn't that magic?
Molly: Uh-uh, because he trained them to fly.
Chuckie: Well, can you train our cats to fly then?
Molly: No, because we don't have enough money to train them to do that. I know how much money we need for that: fifty-hundred and twenty-one. Santa had enough money to train his reindeers that.
Chuckie: Well, if we had that much money, could we train our cats to fly?
Molly: No, because Santa trained his reindeers from babies.

Chuckie: Okay, well, he makes so many toys. That has to be magic.
Molly: No, because he uses a bucket thing to put the pieces in and then the machines make them into the right shape and then the last thing that is important is that he doesn't do it, but the machines make it into a present. And then his elves load them up into his sleigh.

Chuckie: Well, how can Santa know if everyone is good or bad. Isn't that magic?
Molly: No, he checks his short list of naughty kids so he doesn't deliver them presents and the long list is for the good kids who will get presents.

Chuckie: But how do the names get on the lists? Magic?
Molly: No, because he knows.
Chuckie: How does he know?
Molly: Because he's Santa Claus. Santa Claus knows everything.
Chuckie: But isn't that magic?
Molly: No, it's just smarts.

Chuckie: How does he get to every house in the world in one night? Isn't that magic?
Molly: No. 'Cause Santa Claus can deliver presents because he doesn't get tired for a long time.
Chuckie: If he never gets tired, isn't that magic?
Molly: No, he can deliver presents because when he's done, he can go to bed if he likes.

Chuckie: How can he go up and down chimneys? Isn't that magic?
Molly: No, sometimes he can and sometimes he can't, because he uses magic dust on him from a bag.

Chuckie: Aha! He has a magic dust bag. That means he's got magic.
Molly: No, he got it for a birthday present when he was a little baby Santa Claus. Besides it costs fifteen dollars.
Chuckie: So anyone can buy a magic dust bag if they have fifteen dollars?
Molly: Yeah, but guess what?
Chuckie: What?
Molly: They're sold out.

Chuckie: Well, who gave him the magic dust bag?
Molly: His mom and dad. They had enough money.

Chuckie: What kind of magic does his magic dust bag let him do?
Molly: Go up chimneys.
Chuckie: Then if he didn't have his bag, he couldn't deliver the presents. So Santa needs magic to deliver presents.
Molly: No, no one needs magic to just get up a chimney. It just makes it easier.
Chuckie: What if he didn't have his magic dust bag at all?
Molly: He could use the doors or windows to get into the houses.

Chuckie: Santa works with elves. Aren't they magic?
Molly: No. Live elves aren't magic. They just make toys and load him sleigh.

Chuckie: How does Rudolph's nose glow? Isn't that magic?
Molly: No, he was just born with a glowing nose. Like how I was born with green eyes and you were born with green eyes and mommy was born with brown eyes.
Chuckie: So, it's a genetic thing?
Molly: Um, yeah.

Chuckie: What are Santa's reindeer's names?
Molly: Rudolph, and um, Charlene, and uh... Wrinkled? And there are some other ones. But Rudolph is the important one.

Chuckie: Wait a minute! How does Santa fit all of the presents into one bag? That has to be magic!
Molly: No, he has a big, big bag that stretches.

Chuckie: How does he know what presents go to what kid? Magic?
Molly: No, he knows because he writes their names on the presents.

Chuckie: How does he eat all of the cookies and drink all of the milk at every single house? Magic?
Molly: No, he's just really hungry and really thirsty a lot. Sometimes he gets too full. Even him reindeers get something to eat.

Chuckie: Why does Santa give presents?
Molly: Because he's nice. Except to naught kids. But they're naughty.
Chuckie: Are you nice?
Molly: Mm-hm.

Chuckie: Is there anything else that you want to tell people about Santa Claus?
Molly: Wait! We never talked about Mrs. Santa Claus.

Chuckie: Okay, what do you know about her?
Molly: She has white hair.
Chuckie: Is she nice?
Molly: (Molly nods.)

Chuckie: Oh, wait! I know! Mrs. Claus is magic and gives Santa magic powers, right?
Molly: No, she's not magic. She's just an old lady who married Santa Claus.

Chuckie: Ouch. Okay. So, is there anything else you want to tell everyone about Santa Claus or Christmas?
Molly: I think people should be helpful and good to each other.

So, that's Santa's powers, each grounded in scientific explanation. If there is magic in Christmas, it's tucked away in a little's girl's firm belief in science. Oh, and while I was formatting this, Molly came back over to me and we had this exchange:

Molly: Daddy?
Chuckie: Yes, Pixie?
Molly: Are you surprised that I know so much about Santa?
Chuckie: Yes, I am. You know a real lot.
Molly: Are you proud that I know so much about Santa and science?
Chuckie: Of course I am, Sweety. I'm always so proud of you.
Molly: Even though you tried to trick me to think that Santa was magic?
Chuckie: I wasn't trying to trick you, Pixie. We were just talking about things. I'm very proud about how you stuck to your beliefs.
Molly: Thank you. Daddy, when you're done, can we write a thank-you letter to Santa for giving everyone presents?
Chuckie: Sure, Pixie.

So whether you believe in the magic of the season, or the science of the season, Merry Christmas everyone.