Is Santa an elf?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Doctor Q, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #1
    I'm curious about a scientific issue.

    In "The Night Before Christmas" Clement Moore says
    He had a broad face, and a little round belly
    That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly.
    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf
    And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself
    But when I'm at the mall asking Santa's helper for a new Mac Pro, he's not a little person.

    We know that elves are small. That's why having Will Ferrell as an oversized elf made the movie "Elf" funny.

    So I'd like to know whether Clement Moore meant that Santa is a real elf (in which case Santa's helpers at the mall are too big), or if Moore was using the word "elf" in some figurative way I'm not aware of.
     
  2. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #2
    Wait, that film was funny?
    :confused:


    Maybe the printer missed of the g and Santa is really a GELF...
     
  3. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #3
    Santa is the "papa elf". So... yes, Santa is an elf.

    Hey, I think that's a great movie. If you don't enjoy Will Ferrell, then that movie probably did nothing for you.
     
  4. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #4
    Fixed. You had the quotations on the wrong word :D
     
  5. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    #5
    It depends. German/Scandinavian elves (and Irish sidhe) are human sized. Anglo-elves are twee little fairies with wings. Since Santa Claus is obviously Nordic and he's big, he could be an elf.

    Unless we get some DNA samples we can't be sure. Anyone taking the kids to the mall this week?
     
  6. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #6
    I should have said that the premise of the movie "Elf" was funny. I didn't bother seeing the movie so I know only what others have said about it.

    I've met trolls in Norway and menehunes in Hawaii, but Santa is rarely seen in person so we can't check his height directly. That's why I figured we needed a team of linguists, historians, and anthropologists to work on the problem.
     
  7. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #7
    In the old TV special, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Santa is just a normal guy who wants to make toys for kids. I guess it depends on who is telling the story.
     
  8. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #8
    Moore also says, in relation to Santa's size...

    When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.


    I think he's mistaken, and that Santa is just far away - he therefore appears small just like an elf. The thick covering of fresh snow Moore reports means that there's a lack of visible objects for him to gauge Santa's height against, and this coupled with his sleepiness results in the confusion.

    Either that, or he's been on the sherry and dreamt the whole thing up...
     
  9. MacGeek7 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Let's not forget that in 'Lord of the Rings' the Elves are human sized whereas the Hobbits are smaller versions of humans...maybe Santa is an Elf as seen in LOTR but has simply put on weight and the hobbits have simply become known as elves...
     
  10. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #10
    Just letting you know that you made me laugh.
     
  11. hana macrumors regular

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    #11
    I think Santa is much like incoming President Obama.... Obama being a multi-racial fellow born in Hawaii, raised partly in Indonesia, representing Illinois and now on his way to Washington.

    (not to make this a political thread...)
     
  12. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #12
    Pardon my Swedish, but are you saying that Santa is a smörgåsbord?
     
  13. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #13
    Elves in Germany and Middle-earth may be large, but we're talking about North Pole elves, who by all reports are small. Of course, that's probably only because of differentiation over thousands of years of geographic separation. With modern mobility, elves from different backgrounds will be more likely to meet and intermarry so over the long term elf height will trend toward a higher average than Santa's elves.

    Although Moore reported that Santa was a "little old driver" and there was a "miniature sleigh", and didn't say explicitly say that Santa was in the sleigh, I think that's a reasonable assumption. But was Santa fully grown then? He already had a beard, so he must have been at least in adolescence. Also, we don't know how tall Clement Moore was, and he might have called someone "miniature" simply for being less than 5 feet tall.
     
  14. GSMiller macrumors 68000

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    #14
    That statement ruins any credibility behind your argument :p
     
  15. JNB macrumors 604

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    #15
    Which dovetails with PJ O'Rourke's observation that Santa is a Democrat, and God is a Republican.

    Not that I believe in either... :D
     
  16. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #16
    I guess I'm the only one who liked that movie.
     
  17. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #17
    It's looking that way...
     
  18. plinden macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Santa Claus is immortal and as we all know, people were shorter in the past.
     
  19. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #19
    So Santa must be short too then...
     
  20. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #20
    I think Santa is short, but not as short as the worker elves.
     
  21. zelmo macrumors 603

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    #21
    Well, it's the only Will Ferrell movie I've seen that I remotely enjoyed...not exactly a resounding endorsement of your position, but it's something.:p

    I thought Santa was actually a drunken Dan Ackroyd with a piece of salmon stuffed down his shirt.:confused:
     
  22. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #22
    Noooo, here he is:
    [​IMG]
     
  23. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #23
    I don't think Santa is an elf, but just short and fat. He is probably like 5'4".
     
  24. BlackSnow macrumors regular

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    #24
    Yep, there's Sandy Claws.
     
  25. plinden macrumors 68040

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    #25
    Let's rewind for a bit and get back to the original question.

    We all know that Santa is larger than what most English-speaking people think of as elves. (Just go to the mall and see for yourself)

    Scandinavian elves are human sized, and Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, which is kind of like northern Scandinavia.

    Scandinavians are taller than average. However, Santa Claus is immortal and has been around for a long time, so he's shorter than modern Scandinavians, but he could still be taller than the wimpy fairies that pass as elves in the English-speaking world. So, physical evidence doesn't tell us anything.

    However, Saint Nicholas of Myra is the real Santa Claus, and he's Greek, and we know all Greeks are short and dark. This evidence leads me to think that Santa Claus is not an elf (since we know that you can't become an elf - Tolkein showed you can go the other way if you're an elf who marries a human, but not vice versa)

    So I'm coming to the conclusion that Santa Claus is not an elf, but since he's a short Greek person, Moore mistook him for an elf.
     

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