Santa Claus comes to town

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 19, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Engineers say Santa Claus travels to 91.8 million homes bearing gifts to 378 million children around the world on Christmas Eve in a mere 31 hours.

Moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound, Santa and his flying reindeer manage roughly 833 visits per second, affording him one-one thousandth of a second to hop out of his sleigh, shimmy down the chimney, fill stockings, place presents under the tree, scarf down the milk and cookies, climb back up the chimney and continue his voyage.

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Impossible, but Santa said a little magic is responsible.

He doesn’t do it for fame or money. He may be doing it for the milk and cookies (he said chocolate chip are his favorite), but it seems as though Santa embarks on this amazing and certainly exhausting trip every year simply out of the goodness of his jolly heart.

Santa Claus is inspired by the European folk tale based on Saint Nicholas, a historical figure and bishop from present-day Turkey who gave presents to the poor – according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Because of their similarities, Santa is also known as good ol’ St. Nick.

When Christmas is the farthest thing from American minds, Santa is working hard at his North Pole haven manufacturing toys with help from his trusty elves and his wife Mrs. Claus, getting a head start on spreading holiday cheer to children and their families. A few weeks before his trip, Santa makes several appearances. Here in the Queen City, Santa has been spotted greeting the community at the annual Christmas parade, picking up his dry cleaning from Selma Steam and Laundry and taking photos with children at Selma Mall.

But this year has been tougher than others for Santa.

According to a Reuters report at a mall just outside of New Orleans, many children are not asking Santa for the latest video game console or dollhouse. These children are asking Santa whether he will be able to find them since they don’t live in their homes any longer, a result of Hurricane Katrina.

And if Santa does find them, these children are curious as to how he will deliver their gifts. He can’t slide down the chimney. The trailers they live in now don’t have a fireplace and they want Santa to get a new house for their parents.

But the number one request of Santa from these children is if he can make hurricanes go away for good.

Obviously Santa doesn’t control Mother Nature, but he does what he can to bring joy and hope to the masses in his red suit, a long snow white beard, a full belly chuckle and a sparkle in his eye, especially this holiday season.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas everybody!”