Every year around this time discussion heats up as to the possible existence of a certain red-clad jovial "polie" who goes by many names: Kris Kringle, Jolly ol' St. Nick, Father Christmas... Santa Claus. Originally Santa was just a myth, a happy fat man who gave gifts to all the good children of the world on Christmas Eve, a story that we told children until about age seven or eight so Christmas would be a more magical time for them - a 20th century metamorphosis of his originator, a real man named Saint Nicholas, a third century saint and Bishop of Myra in Anatolia (modern day Turkey... no, no, the country, this has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, despite its calendarical proximity to Christmas). But in the last few decades this Yultide legend has been believed not only by children, but certain adults as well. You might call them Believers. You might call them Conspiracy Theorists. I call them wingnuts!

Despite the fact that Santa Claus is universally known to be a myth, without a shred of doubt to the contrary to all reasonably intelligent persons over the age of nine, apparently some of the same people who believe in UFO aliens, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster have also taken up a belief that this white-bearded, rosey-cheeked magical philanthropist is real. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not always a skeptic. Bigfoot? Maybe. Aliens? Pass me the Kool Aid! But Santa? NO!

These so-called "Santaphiles" have been growing in number steadily since 1995 when parapsychologist "Dr." Michael Lynch began doing the radio circuit with his Santa sightings along with his usual assortment of UFO/alien and Bigfoot sightings. This "evidence" that he and other Santaphiles have been purporting are garden variety pieces of evidence for all things paranormal: blurry photographs, questionable anecdotes of sightings, shaky video, and static-filled audio. All of these things supposedly point to the fact that, YES, despite Santa being well known as mythical, there is indeed a rotund festively-clad joyful man squeezing down the chimneys all over the world every year on the night of December 24th.

These pictures are, at best, dubious. One can't even be sure that they are capturing anything unusual; and even if they are of Santa there's no evidence that it isn't some guy in a Santa suit posing as the "jolly old elf." When questioned a Santaphile will quickly point out that there's no way that a normal adult man would be able to fit down most of these chimneys depicted in these fuzzy photographs. And the ones that are supposedly of Mr. Claus air-surfing with his sleigh pulled by the eight - er, nine - tiny reindeer, they are of course evidence because normal people can't use normal reindeer to fly normal sleighs! But those aren't any better than 99% of all the pictures supposedly depicting alien spacecraft. Or "missiles" hitting the Pentagon, like those ridiculous photographs put forth by 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists.

This whole Secret Santa thing goes way beyond mere contrary claims of his existence, they do believe that there is actually a government conspiracy to cover it up. Well, of course! That's 90% of what the Government does, right, cover things up? I mean, why the hell would the United States, or any other, Government, spend time trying to make sure that Santa Claus stays a myth? Santaphiles have an answer for that (conspiracy theorists have an answer for everything don't they?). It's the retail industry! That's right. Unlike the parents in the Father Knows Best, the retail industry and the Government are in bed together and the secret lobbyists working for the retail industry want the Government to make sure that they have no competition, magical or otherwise. In other words, giving kids presents for free cuts into their profits. PUH-LEEZE! As if! Even if it were true that there was a Santa Claus, it doesn't appear that he's hurt the retail stores. Black Friday has slumped a little in recent years, but it still kicks major financial ass. And plus, even if it were possible for Santa to fit all of those toys on the sleigh, he couldn't have more than one per kid in there, could he?

And what of all of those classic problems with Santa? All of those questions that Santa-agnostic kids ask, like the boy in The Polar Express before he hops on that crazy train. How can he get to all those kids in one night? How do the reindeer fly? How does he get down the chimney? What about kids without chimneys? Why doesn't he have heart disease from all those milk and cookies? Well the Santaphiles have all the classic answers. He's magic! Or, he employs science we do not yet understand, or barely understand. At that point the Santaphile will start babbling stuff about quantum physics that are so complicated and out there that it would take a real quantum physicist to call bullshit on them.

So what is Santa anyway that he can do all of that? All right, here comes the cherry on this Steak n' Shake shake, you ready for this? SANTA AND HIS REINDEER ARE NOT OF THIS EARTH! Yes, Saint Nicholas either was an alien, or Santa Claus, who is an alien, used the legend of St. Nick to launch his present-giving campaign. He and his reindeer are shape shifters so that they may look like terrestrial creatures to fool us. And of course the fact that he is an alien means the Government want to cover him up that much more. There are even claims that they have one of his sleighs at Area 51, trying to reverse engineer it.

PEOPLE, ARE YOU SERIOUS?? I mean, really serious?? So an alien being came to Earth just to give toys to all the good little boys and girls? This just doesn't make any sense at all.

Like I said earlier, I don't consider myself a skeptic. I'm open to all kinds of possibilities and I do think that it's possible that there are otherworldly visitors flying about. However, I don't think they're being driven by reindeers and riding in sleighs.

Sorry, Virginia, but NO, there is NOT a Santa Claus!

This phenomenon is not actually real. Just some holiday humour. However, I would not be surprised if I actually hit on something real here.

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