Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Father Christmas Competition

Often, us theological types are allowed to speak to children’s groups over the Christmas season, and so I wanted to start a competition. Namely, how many children can you persuade over the next couple of days that Father Christmas doesn’t exist.

The rules:

  1. Only those who you manage to convince before Christmas Eve count.
  2. One point per child
  3. Two points per child if you are able to convince them that Father Christmas is really Beelzebub.
  4. If you manage to reduce one to tears, then double your score. I.e. if you have three points already, add one for this victory (=4), then double it making eight.
  5. If you also manage to succeed in getting them to believe the ‘I’m even going to be eating Rudolf the Red-Nose Pie on Christmas day while you’re eating Turkey’ line, add a bonus point.

I’m hoping to top my personal best over the next couple of days but I doubt I’ll manage, as a couple of years ago I had a ‘double your score’ run of three kids in a row, totalling to over 40 points. That was magic.


  • If you are fat enough, put your name down to act as a shopping mall Santa Claus – and they do tend to trust Reverends.
  • Persuade the Sunday school teacher to allow you ‘bible study’ time with the toddlers.
  • If you are going for the two-points bonus (see 3 above), don’t bother with the old: ‘See what happens if you rearrange the letters of the name “Santa”’, logic, as it tends to get lost on those of typical target age.
  • If you get a job as a shopping mall Santa, when little Johnny is bobbing on your knee, wait till mum has turned her back and pull down your beard, tell him your real name and job, and then expand on the hoax that ‘only babies believe’. If mum turns back overhearing a protest, deny everything. If mum is not around for a few minutes, go for the double your score (4 above - the best way to increase your points). Experience tells that this is facilitated when one tries to mix in the Red-Nose Pie bonus at the same time.

Thus far:

Chris Tilling has accumulated 5 points.

(I’ll add your scores to a league as the results come in)


At 12/22/2006 12:55 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

Your tips all describe Rick Warren!

At 12/22/2006 1:48 AM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

This is painful. I have a bug and my head is spinning so laughing this hard is killing me. I think you gain and extra 10 points for killing me.

BTW we decided not to propogate the Santa myth (although we love the hagiographic St. Nicholas stuff) with our kids. I'm just waiting for our kids to cause us trouble at their schools.

At 12/22/2006 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang!! My sister-in-law could not stand the Santa myth and told all her kids the truth as they were growing up. So all my nieces and nephews know the truth - I have no kids to use to get points!!!

At 12/22/2006 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son realised at quite an early age that the whole Father Christmas thing is a myth. He twigged that we haven't got a chimney and my explanation that he gets into chimney-less houses with a "magic key" didn't quite convince. He took great delight (despite our protestations) in taunting his little sister with "Father Christmas isn't real!" She snapped back, "But Santa Claus is!" So there! Na na na na naaah.

At 12/22/2006 1:19 PM, Anonymous tigger said...

Bah, humbug....

Such antics are enough to make even the baby Jesus cry.... ;-)

I believed in Father Christmas and NOW look at me (btw NOT an excuse to descend into sniggers and laughter Herr Tilling...).

Haaaapppppppppeeee Christmas, eeeeeeeeeeevereeeeee bodeeeeee Ho, Ho, Ho....

At 12/23/2006 11:58 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Well, Frank, you can claim points through your kids next year, perhaps.

TB, no excuses.

Guy, thanks for the laugh. Your son sounds like a young man after my own heart! You get 1 honourary point.

Tigger, how's the German going?

Jim, that was the most evil thing to do, yesterday, putting that picture of a certain dancer on your blog. You get 15 points for the cheek!

At 12/23/2006 3:58 PM, Anonymous tigger said...

es geht mir sehr gut, danke!

Ich hab ein anderes Video auf Deutsch gemacht - geh nach YouTube (unter TiggerWelle) und seh!


Alles gute zum Weihnachtsfest, Kris (he, he) und Anja....

At 12/23/2006 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That is hilarious. Evil, but hilarious.

I used to be a raving anti-Santa type of guy, but since marriage and a child, I have found there are bigger theological fish to fry, so I don't go on many santa-hating rants anymore.

The other reason is that in Dallas Texas, you could literally be shot for denying the reality of Santa Claus. Oh the wrath that comes if it is YOUR kids that is telling all of the other kids that Santa is not real! So, if I am going to get shot, I decided I would rather get shot for trying to convince people that Jesus was not a member of the Republican Party.

Merry Christmas...

At 12/24/2006 2:44 AM, Anonymous J. B. Hood said...

CT, happened to check the blog for the first time in months. The J is for Jason, which is what I go by actually; J B Hood is just a pretentious writing name. I think Bauckham fused James (who also commented on the same post) with JB...I wonder what the implications of this are for his theories of names in Gospels. Probably nothing...

Tell him thanks for the response if you would!

Merry Christmas all. Sing Tannenbaum and Stille Nacht for me.

At 12/24/2006 2:47 AM, Anonymous J. B. Hood said...


Can you repost your link to the Tubingen library super-search database? That sucker was some sweet business but I can't find the link now.

At 12/24/2006 9:48 PM, Anonymous Jonathan Henry said...

If I've read Wright's chapter on "Sign, Symbol & Controversy" correctly in JVG (and I don't see any reason to think I haven't), this contest is a subversive claim at messiahship.

The other participants enact discipleship, and the victims, without the Father-Christmas paradigm to which they've been accustomed, turn to the source of revelation (this website).

Unfortunately, most messianic stories have ugly endings. Yet, having read Wright, I'm sure you have meaning built into the demise of your vocation.

What a brilliant scheme!

At 12/26/2006 4:19 AM, Anonymous Chris Weimer said...

We never did the Santa thing either.~

At 12/26/2006 11:47 AM, Anonymous Pastor Astor said...

Without knowing about this competition, and even without trying I managed to put my foot in my mouth enough times to get 10 points this Christmas. I hven´t counted points for my kids telling their whole kindergarten class the truth, setting off a chain reaction of chock and tears (the kindergarten teacher has a serious word with me when I came to pick the girls up). I count on being able to go outside (wearing a helmet) sometime late in July.

At 12/26/2006 5:08 PM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

Pastor Astor, I was thinking telling our kids the deal with Santa would land me in similar hot water, but I underestimated their desire to enjoy the festivities. Seems they are quite content to go along with the cultural myth while rightly acknowledging the truth of what is really going on when put to the question. I think I have a lot to learn from my kids about tact.

Alas no points for me this year. There is always next year.

At 12/26/2006 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anthony Martin said...

My mother-in-law went as far as to tell my three-year-old that Santa is a false prophet. I'm still trying to decode that one.


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