Yes, Brooklyn, there is a Santa Claus!
A one-man theatrical presentation will use philosophical arguments and historical analysis to convince skeptical children that Santa Claus is coming to town. “Beyond Belief: A Philosophical Proof of Santa Claus” will drop down the chimney into Greenpoint’s Park Church Co-op on Dec. 23 and dive into the history and ideology behind Christmas. The lecture aims to restore holiday cheer to Brooklyn’s non-believers, and to show children that belief is an integral part of the human experience, said its creator.
“The first 20 minutes of the show is a deconstruction of all the elements that go into Santa Claus,” explained Jamie Hook, a Greenpoint filmmaker, theater producer, competitive ironer, Kentucky Derby enthusiast, and dog pageant organizer. “It helps us understand why we believe in anything.”
The 90-minute SLED Talk includes a slideshow outlining the holiday’s history, an extravagant light display, and a discussion with young audience members that brings the beloved Christmas icon to life, Hook claimed.
“We establish a unitarian version of Santa Claus that works for everyone,” he said, noting most children leave the presentation convinced that some version of Santa exists.
Hook has led the show five times now, first writing it after seeing how dejected his friend’s son became after a classmate, and later his father, told him that Santa wasn’t real.
“That kid spiraled into a holiday season depression,” Hook said.
The boy’s dispirited Christmas season inspired Hook to devise an explanation of Santa’s existence that hinges on a few basic philosophical proofs often used to prove the existence of God. Hook argues, for example, that while people never see Santa planting his gifts, they can see his charitable and jolly traits reflected around the world, and that the age-old Christmas story is rooted in true historical events and traditions.
“Because all this stuff exists, it has to point to something more profound than your parents buying you presents and putting them under the tree,” he said.
More convincing, though, are the children’s discussions about Santa during the show, which help fill in each others’ doubts about the jolly old elf. According to Hook, the youngest attendees often re-convince their older siblings that Santa Claus is real.
“I’ve often had it that [older siblings] hear their younger brothers and sisters profess this deep belief … A majority tend to be persuaded back into believing,” he said.
Hook is offering his simple phrases to kids from 7 to 92. Tiny tots may not be willing to sit still, but the whole family might find their eyes all a-glow, he said.
“It’s actually really fun for parents because it brings us back to this space where we ask ourselves, ‘Why do we do this?’ ” said Hook.
“Beyond Belief: A Philosophical Proof of Santa Claus” at The Park Church Co-op [129 Russell St. between Nassau and Driggs Avenues in Greenpoint, (917) 426–1596 ,www.beyond-belief.org]. Dec. 23 at 7:30 pm. $15 suggested donation.