“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Santa Claus is coming around, riding on a sleigh. Hey!”
For years, people have loved to sing this famous song in and around Christmas. Yet, though Santa did visit every house, by the time we had woken he was gone. But, do we know where Santa comes from, and where he goes back to after Christmas?
Since childhood, most people have thought of Santa as a fat guy with a white beard, red coat and a sack full of presents, coming from a snowy place, far away in the north. Kids have, it seems, always written letters to Santa to let him know what their wish list is. As far as an address is concerned, children usually just write Santa Claus, North Pole. And even though Santa has his official home at North Pole, in actual fact Santa has Canadian citizenship. Surprised? We were too!
23rd December 2008, was a memorable day in world’s history. Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, took a bold decision and officially designated Santa a Canadian citizen. Santa was also given the right to fly over Canada at any time. Kenney, in an official statement, said: “The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian Citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete.”
Was this citizenship awarded as a courtesy or did Canada already think of Santa as its citizen? Let’s go back to 1980s. Santa has had his very own postal code, H0H 0H0, since 1982, which also belongs to Canada. Technically this postal code indicates that Santa Claus lives somewhere in Montreal. Over the years, this postal code gained so much popularity that employee elves at Montreal’s Post Office started answering wish list letters with more than a million replies each year, in more than 25 different languages. This might be the reason for Canada claiming Santa’s citizenship. Another claim that has been made to back up the idea that Santa is Canadian is that Canada’s flag resembles Santa’s robe. Also, the famous NOARD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), which has ‘tracked’ Santa for more than 50 years, apparently has records which show that his flight originates from the Canadian portion of the Arctic region.
Even though Santa’s citizenship may be disputed by various countries, Santa Claus will always be remembered as a universal entity that belongs to people worldwide. We should take a lesson from innocent kids, for whom the only thing that matters is Santa’s existence. We should pray that irrespective of religion and nationality, Santa may come back each year with loads of love and gifts for everyone, as a messenger of our shared humanity.