THE FIVE WAYS OF PROVING SANTA CLAUS*
(The following Thomistic humor is from Joseph McGee’s page)
Whether Santa Claus Exists
We proceed thus to the third article:
It seems that Santa Claus does not exist; because Christmas gifts are able to be given by good elves. Therefore, Santa Claus does not exist.
Further, if Santa Claus did exist, there would be no narrow chimneys. But there are narrow chimneys, and sometimes there are no chimneys at all. Therefore, Santa Claus does not exist.
On the contrary, Kay Starr says: “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night.”
I answer that, The existence of Santa Claus Can be proved in five ways.
The first and most manifest way is that taken from Christmas trees. It is certain and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are Christmas trees. Now no pine tree becomes a Christmas tree unless it is trimmed. Now to be trimmed means to receive ornaments from another. But this cannot go on to infinity in the trimming of Christmas trees. One must come to some first untrimmed trimmer; and this everyone understands to be Santa Claus.
The second way is from the nature of Christmas gifts. We see that in the world that Christmas gifts are given and received. Whoever, then, gives Christmas gifts either receives them from another or makes them in his workshop. If, however, no one makes Christmas gifts in his workshop, they are not given nor received. Therefore it is necessary to posit some first giver of Christmas gifts, who everyone calls Santa Claus.
The third way is taken from plastic images resembling Santa Claus. At all stores we see things of plastic that represent Santa Claus. These things are of such a quality that they are representations according to Santa himself or according to other images of him. But, it is not possible to proceed to infinity in images. Therefore, it is necessary to posit something which is resembling Santa Claus and hence Santa Claus exists.
The fourth way is taken from the grades which are found in Christmas spirit. Indeed, in this world, among men there are some of more and some of less Christmas spirit. But “more” and “less” is said of diverse things according as they resemble in their diverse ways something which is the “maximum.” Therefore there must be something which has the most Christmas spirit, and this we call Santa Claus.
The fifth way is taken from the behavior of children. When Christmas day approaches, we see from their being good always or frequently that children, who lack understanding, are moved because of an end. But children would not be good because of the Nativity of Christ unless there were someone who strengthened them so that they were good. And this someone is known by all to be Santa Claus.
Replies to Objections:
Good elves, since they receive Christmas gifts from another, should be named the highest helpers of Santa.
It is not impossible that Santa Claus should use the door like everyone else.
* Also known in various places under the name of Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, etc.
Joseph M. Magee, Ph.D.