“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” George Carlin
The Santa Claus story is maybe the most well known and pervasive in the world, other than maybe Jesus or Mohamed. As a writer, especially one seeking some modicum of commercial success, there are things we can learn from Santa.
Santa has multiple origin stories and we don’t care, we still love the jolly old fat man. With release of Klaus, Netflix just gave us another origin story. Was he the first toymaker to the the king, a lonely old widower, a work-obsessed suburbanite that happens to put on Santa’s coat? No one cares, we care only about his magic. By the way, Klaus is a great holiday film.
Santa’s magic has limits. Like any well-written fantasy or science fiction story, Santa’s world has rules and limits. His knowledge of children’s behavior is limited to filling out the naughty or nice list. He delivers gifts to the entire world in one night. Don’t forget the elves. His magic and his world isn’t all encompassing. He can’t correct a child’s bad behavior with his magic, just bribery.
All of those origin stories, follow the hero’s journey and three act structure. Jolly St. Nick had to leave his ordinary world to overcome many obstacles to reach transformation. Do you see it?
Those are a few of the story-telling lessons we can learn, but there are other things the myth can teach us: follow your passion, laugh often, recruit a team with similar values, focus on doing the right thing.