Today we can choose–if we have power and heat and wi-fi–among Christmas messages from Pope Francis, President and Mrs. Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, or Edward Snowden (on BBC Channel 4, I believe). From the Pope’s “Urbi et Orbi Message”: “true peace is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely ‘facade’ which conceals conflicts and divisions.” From Snowden: “if the government really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”
But what about Santa’s message? There is some good news on this front, from Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, director of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging. It seems that Santa Claus, who was already described as “chubby and plump” in the 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” has more nice health habits than naughty ones (hat tip UPI.com). If Santa did not exercise regularly, how could he stay so lively and quick delivering gifts, said Dr. Cavalieri. “Carrying a sack full of toys strengthens muscles, improves balance and helps prevent falls.” Making a list and checking it twice could be a sign of age-related memory problems, but, according to Cavalieri, making lists is an excellent way to compensate. Moreover, while old pictures of Santa depict him with smoke which “encircled his head like a wreath,” he appears to have given up this habit. Santa’s pet ownership (the herd of reindeer) “can help lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, reduce social isolation and even boost the immune system and provide opportunities for exercise,” Cavalieri says. “When you add it all together, Santa’s health habits definitely put him on a successful aging path that others can follow,” according to Dr. Cavalieri.
- Geriatrician Reveals Santa’s Health Habits (medindia.net)
- Santa Claus and Christmas credulity: from the archive, 24 December 1925 (theguardian.com)
- What Would Happen If We Really Went to War Against Christmas? (motherjones.com)
- Santa is 550–what about his health? (healthsass.blogspot.com)
- Santa Claus: A Ho-Ho-High Insurance Risk (central-insurance.com)