By Clay Wilson
Not everyone in the world, of course, believes in Santa Claus. But for those who do, there are some logical questions that beg answers.
For instance, exactly how does Santa's sleigh fly? How does the Big Man get all the way around the world in just one night? Perhaps most puzzling, how does he get into houses that don't have chimneys?
And who better to answer these hard questions than those most closely concerned with the success of Santa's Christmas Eve mission children?
The kids in Sara Gugel's third-grade class at McDonough Elementary School offered their answers to these puzzlers recently.
Gugel's students had a somewhat unique perspective, since the day before they had just received answers to letters they had written to Santa.
"I was amazed," said Gugel. "We've written letters before and never gotten anything back."
She said it only took about a week for the letters to get answers. But then, that probably shouldn't be surprising, based on Kelli Block's explanation of how the North Pole's postal service operates.
"The elves go get the mail," she said.
In his letter, Vadal Eddy told Santa he wanted a ball, a PlayStation Two with Tekken Tag game and a Hot Wheels Real World playset. He also inquired about the welfare of Mrs. Claus and the elves, and "if Rudolph's nose is still shining bright."
Kiara Russell asked in her letter why Rudolph's nose is red.
"Rudolph has a red nose because he was born like that," was the reply she said she received.
But even St. Nick apparently has to keep some things classified. Destiny Loyd wanted to know how long it takes Santa to get around the world.
"I think he didn't give me an answer to that," she said.
However long it takes him, tradition (American tradition, at least) holds that Santa accomplishes his worldwide trek via a flying sleigh. Edward Haro asserted that "magic" makes the sleigh fly, but was less confident when pressed for details.
"Maybe the reindeer go really fast," he said.
There was a brief argument between the members of the class over whether the elves make the merchandise Santa delivers or whether he gets it in stores. The prevailing theory, however, seemed to favor the elves.
Antonio Smith struck something of a compromise, saying that the elves make the heads of dolls, while machines make the rest of the body. He also described a machine the elves use to make toy cars in such complex detail that a non-mechanically inclined reporter couldn't keep up.
But Smith's theory of how Santa gets into houses that don't have chimneys owed more to popular legend than popular science.
"He goes invisible and then he walks through the wall," he said.
Block said that magic cookies are the secret, although she couldn't specify the flavor of cookie.
But Jonathan Torbush's pondering about Santa seemed a bit more practical and advanced than the typical third grader's might be.
"I wonder if he domesticated reindeer?" Torbush asked.
"What's domesticated?" responded a classmate.