Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

9 Dec

(Image © BustedTees)

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the Santa Claus Debate.

Last Friday (December 3rd) was the 16th Santa Claus Debate (SCD) at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)!  This event has become something of a holiday tradition between me and two of my girlfriends, so we were thrilled to be in attendance!

As with all Santa Claus Debates at UNBC this one opened with a small choir of carollers belting out well-loved Christmas tunes, warmly welcoming attendees.  To further the welcome, cookies, coffee and tea were laid out invitingly, free for the crowd.  Debate veterans arrived with knowing smiles and virgins chattered expectantly among themselves.  The atmosphere was light-hearted and the SCD was a very welcome break in the monotony of exam preparation, and a great end to the work week.

Of course, since this was a debate, there was a Pro side and an Anti side.  Pro-Claus.  Anti-Claus.  The Anti side hosted an array of clever reasons why the great Santa Claus is mere myth.  Sandor Clauswitz (Peter Zimmer) regaled the audience with his family’s sordid history and informed us that it was an ancestor who began parading about in red velvet outerwear and handing out gifts so that the townspeople would grow to like him – the family had been following in these footsteps for years!  Gary Wilson was the next naysayer to take the stand and shone a light on the red wearing St. Nick and called him for who he really was: Karl Marx.  This North Pole ploy is, in fact, a Russian conspiracy of epic proportions.  Our final presentation in this series was given by the infamous Sarah Palin (Zoe Meletis), who pleaded with us, in a return engagement, not to support this wealthy, unknown European with questionable foreign allegiances who is possessed of loose morals (the obesity, the perpetually red cheeks and the inappropriate visitation of strangers’ children under cover of darkness)!

Then there was the Pro side, those who have invested great time and energy in defending the existence of Mr. Claus.  We heard first from Sufey Chen who brought three points to her argument: 1) Mrs. Claus, 2) the elves, and 3) Rudolph.  Mrs. Claus is married and, thus, must have a husband, who is none other than Mr. Claus.  The elves, as we know, work tirelessly in their shop, and, as we know, all workers have a boss.  In this case that boss is Santa Claus.  We mustn’t forget Rudolph, that little reindeer with his nose so bright who gained great fame after Santa beseeched him to pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve night!  Miss Chen followed her points with a question: if there is no Santa, then who eats all of the cookies that are left out for him?  Surely an apparition cannot leave gingerbread crumbs in its incorporeal stead.  Sufey’s cohort Marcus Lantz followed her statement with the proof of that long Christmas journey: NORAD.  The joint American Canadian organization that has provided aerospace warning and defence for decades tracks Santa each year on his trek to visit the home of each of the world’s children!  Truly NORAD would not make the mistake of tracking a myth and no government affiliated organization would lie to the citizens of North America.  Finally Fredrique (Tracy Summerville) was introduced.  As an elf in the North Pole, Fredrique is witness to the existence of that jolly old man in red.  She did not, however, stand and relate her personal sightings of the man who signs her pay cheque.  Instead, she hefted a large sack of North Pole mail into the centre arena and proceeded to pull from it a letter that had been written by a young audience member (Owen), who had indeed sent his letter, through Canada Post, to the North Pole for Mr. Claus’s approval.

Now it was up to the judge, Dr. Daniel Ryan (dean of the College of Science and Management at UNBC) to make a decision.  First he reviewed the topics of the evening’s conversation.  Then, he called a character witness, someone who could without a shadow of a doubt, answer the question of the existence of Santa Claus once and for all!  With the help of Master of Ceremonies Dr. Todd Whitcombe, Dr. Ryan brought forth the jolly, ho-ho-hoing man in red himself: Santa Claus!

Santa ended the debate when he informed us: “I ho-ho, therefore I am!”

This was, without a doubt, the finest Santa Claus Debate I’ve taken in.  They are always entertaining and the arguments always gain a laugh, or two, but this one was outstanding!  The debaters’ prepared speeches were spot on, the crowd was awesome and the Canfor was the best possible venue choice – much more suited to the audience than the Wintergarden.  I eagerly await next year’s festivities!

Michael C. Hall – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town


One Response to “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

  1. C December 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Sooo much fun!

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