My dad’s theory was that Santa was a zombie. Not one of those brain-munching decomposing corpses that constitute the modern definition of zombies, but a zombie in the voodoo sense. Basically, a flesh puppet; a person under mind control that was being used to perform a task. He came to the conclusion that the elves brought Santa back every year to play a leadership role. According to my dad, resurrecting Santa was all the elves could do autonomously. …

My theory was a bit more complex, and seemed more feasible to me. I hypothesized that Santa and his elves were like an ant or bee colony, with Santa as the “queen” and the elves as the workers. I proposed that milk and cookies were like the royal jelly. If an elf was given milk and/or cookies, it would metamorphose into another Santa and would challenge the existing Santa’s dominance. What would follow would be an intense and potentially disastrous Santa-on-Santa battle.