Here in North America, we pretty much know what to expect of the mythological figure who supposedly puts our Christmas presents under the tree each December 24 (or January 5, depending). Well, sure, we all know our family members really do it, but we like to blame a certain red-suited fat man.

santa delivering christmas presents

Santa's pseudonyms are numerous. Will you be getting your Christmas presents from St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Sinterklass -- or the Krampus?

Hereabouts we generally call him Santa Claus, and he’s pretty good at making sure the latest PS3 or iPhone4 is under the tree, along with basics like underwear and socks. But when pressed, even Americans call him other things: St. Nicholas, St. Nick, Kris Kringle.

Santa Around the World

Santa’s fun to believe in, despite the fact that he’d have to not just break but smash to smithereens various laws of physics to do his job. Otherwise, he’d fly so fast he’d burst into flame. So here’s a novel idea: maybe there’s this Santa franchise you can buy into. We’ve all seen multiple mall Santas, yes?

And we call him all kinds of things all over the world, like Baba Chaghaloo (my personal favorite), Daidain na Nollaig, Deda Mraz, Father Christmas, Hoteioshom, ¬†Joulupukki, Julenissen, Jultomten, Kanakaloka, Pere Noel, Weihnachtsmann, Sinterklaas, Swiety Mikolaj,…well, you get the picture.

The Only Logical Conclusion

Even with magic, the only way that one man can deliver every kid’s Christmas gift in one night without time travel is to be (drumroll please)… more than one man! So obviously Santa Claus has to be a franchise of fat fellows who each cover a limited territory.

Sorry, Virginia, there’s not just one Santa Claus. But someone’s going to bring that La La Loopsie doll you asked for, don’t worry.

One Little Precaution

One thing to keep in mind about godlike figures who shower you with gifts is that they tend to balance out with their exact opposites; Grinches to their Santas, if you will.

While Americans celebrate a sanitized version of the Fat Man (thanks mostly to Coca-Cola, believe it or not), beware if you visit an alpine country during Yuletide. Brats are likely to get a visit from the Santa’s buddy, the Krampus. This ugly guy is the classic anti-Santy.

So Be Good, for Goddness Sake

Now, the luckier naughty kids in places like Austria, Bavaria, Hungary, and Slovenia might get coal or switches in their stockings. The really rotten ones get invited over for Christmas dinner at the Krampus household…if you get my drift.

That being the case, it might be a good idea to a) Be keenly aware of who runs your local Santa Franchise; and b) If you happen to be celebrating Christmas in continental Europe for some odd reason, have the Jolly Old Elf send your Christmas presents home via FedEx.