St. Thomas Aquinas on the existence of Santa?

Someone emailed this to me a few years ago. I enjoyed it! But, be warned: you will only fully appreciate this if you have read St Thomas Aquinas’ theological or philosophical writings, in which it is inspired – and some who have, think this is just too silly. For me, silly is OK…

Whether Santa Claus Exists?
Objection 1. It seems that Santa Claus does not exist, because Christmas gifts may be given to us by various good elves, and so there is no need for Santa Claus.
Obj. 2. Further, if Santa Claus existed, every dwelling would have a chimney and none would be too narrow for him. But some have narrow chimneys, and some no chimney at all. Therefore, Santa Claus does not exist.
On the contrary, Kay Starr says: “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus.”
I answer that, the existence of Santa Claus can be proved in five ways.
The first and most manifest way is from Christmas trees. It is certain and evident to our senses that there are Christmas trees. Now no evergreen tree becomes a Christmas tree unless it is trimmed. Now to be trimmed means to receive ornaments from another. But one cannot go on to infinity in the passing on of Christmas tree ornaments, because then there would be no first trimmer, and consequently no other trimmer. Therefore, it is necessary to arrive at a first trimmer, trimmed by no other, and this everyone understands to be Santa Claus.
The second way is from the giving of Christmas gifts. Many people give Christmas gifts. Now whoever gives Christmas gifts either receives them from another or makes them in his workshop. But since no known person makes Christmas gifts in his workshop, everyone received them from another. But to take away the giver is to take away the receiver. Therefore, if there be no first giver, there would not be any other givers, nor any receivers, nor any giving of Christmas presents, all of which are plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit some first giver who makes Christmas gifts in his workshop, whom everyone calls Santa Claus.
The third way is from plastic images of Santa Claus, and runs thus. We find in department stores things of plastic which represent Santa Claus. Now, these things are representations either of Santa himself or of other images of Santa. Now, it is impossible to go on to infinity in representations. Therefore, there must be some being that is per se Santa Claus, not Santa Clause by participation, which the representations imitate.
The fourth way is taken from the gradations of Christmas spirit. Among men there is more or less Christmas spirit. But “more” and “less” are predicated of diverse things according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus. Therefore there must be someone who has infinite Christmas spirit, who is to all others the cause of their Christmas spirit, and this being we call Santa Claus.
The fifth way is taken from the conduct of children. As Christmas day approaches, we see children, who lack intelligence, acting for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, good, so as to obtain presents. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they act towards their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move itself towards its end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence, who promises children a reward for being good; and this being we call Santa Claus.
Reply Obj. 1. Since the good elves get the presents they give from someone else, they are, at most, Santa’s helpers.
Reply Obj. 2. The notion that Santa Claus enters and leaves by the chimney is absurd and heretical. Now, it is evident from the preceding that Santa is very wise. So, he uses a door, not a chimney, to enter and depart; and every dwelling has at least one door.


About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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