Monday, December 20, 2004

"Santa Claus's Political Affiliations (With Footnotes)" (Column)

There is no reason for this, but this is one of my favorite columns of all time, bar none.

I always wondered what Santa Claus’ political beliefs are, and yes, I know that’s weird. I figured it to be easy to work out what he believes by what he does. It wasn’t. It wasn’t even easy figuring out where he originally came from, but I did a little research and I think I may be a little closer to the answers.

Some say Santa Claus began as St. Nicholas, a Turkish priest and saint, who gave toys and candy to the yard apes of Asia Minor 1700 years ago. He was canonized and became very popular, becoming the patron saint of children, sailors, and several countries. When the Reformation swept Europe, those pesky Protestants made any celebration involving St. Nick illegal. As usual, the Dutch did their own thing and kept Sint Nikolass part of their festivities. When they came to America and snagged the last remaining parking spots in New Amsterdam, they brought a devotion to Sinterklass, as they called him here. When the Dutch were evicted in the 17th Century, their English landlords turned Sinterklass to Santa Claus.

Let’s see: Santa is Catholic, at least partly Dutch, and he settled in New York. He believes in giving gifts to everyone and he works with (ahem) a small minority. By golly, he’s a Blue Stater!