This year I learned something that has jingled my bells to their very core. It was hiding in plain sight, literally spelled out for me year after year, but I didn't notice it until now: Every Santa in pop culture is a lie, because Santa Claus...is an elf.
Before you cry blasphemy, hear me out, because I got this tea from the source. Who better would you trust to tell the story of Santa Claus then Clement Clarke Moore himself, writer of "A Visit From St. Nicholas," or as you may know it, "The Night Before Christmas"? You're probably already saying the first few lines in your head right now, but if you go a little deeper into the poem, you'll see what I'm talking about.
After the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, after the sugar-plums dance, there's this:
"Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash."
And what exactly to our protagonist's wandering eyes should appear? "But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer."
Miniature sleigh. Eight tiny reindeer.
But wait, there's more: "With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick." Little!
Then the narrator goes on to describe Santa in detail, and that's where it cannot be denied: "He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself."
Jolly! Old! Elf!
This shouldn't be new news, either, Moore published the poem in a collection in 1884. Every Santa since the dawn of movies and television has been, dare I say, a lie? I feel duped, and am certainly going to be conflicted when I sit down to watch holiday staples like Elf, The Santa Clause, and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
If pointing out this truth puts me on the naughty list, then so be it. That's the price I pay to be such a dedicated journalist. Happy holidays!
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