Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus… in Star Wars

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus… in Star Wars
Art by Ralph McQuarrie. (Image: Lucasfilm)

While Life Day will always be Star Wars’ most famous holiday, there are more. Many more. There’s an entire galaxy full of celebrations, festivals, and observances including, somewhat surprisingly, the planet Aargau’s Take Your Daughter to Work Day. And, while it’s unknown if Space Jesus was born in the Star Wars galaxy to absolve Ponda Baba (et al.) for his sins, there is a Christmas — because there’s also a Santa Claus.

Please don’t think for a minute that this right jolly old elf exists in the new, Disney-approved Star Wars canon. In fact, Santa barely exists in the old Expanded Universe, having appeared ever-so-briefly in Dark Horse’s final Knights of the Old Republic comic, as a patron at Goodvalor’s Little Bivoli, a chain restaurant on Coruscant. That was more than 3,600 years before the events of A New Hope, but Santa could also be seen in 1993’s Star Wars: X-Wing video game, set during the original trilogy, on the deck of the Mon Calamari ship the Independence if you played the game on December 25. The only other listing that Wookieepedia has for Santa is the Ralph McQuarrie’s cover for West End’s role-playing game supplement Star Wars: Adventure Journal 8, which features Yoda — or a member of his species, as the wiki wants you to know — dressed head to toe in a Santa outfit, and a sack of toys slung over his shoulder.

However, the best evidence for Santa’s existence comes from Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, produced by Meco in 1980, and featuring the dulcet tones of Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. The premise is that Artoo, Threepio, and Chewbacca are hanging out in a factory where droids are making presents for an “S. Claus.” You could be forgiven for thinking the trio has somehow been whisked to our Earth, as C-3PO mentions Albert Einstein, H.G. Wells, and the nation of Japan in the second song, “Bells, Bells, Bells”, to an increasingly bewildered R2-D2. But why, then, is S. Claus’ factory staffed by droids, and why do they specifically mention the Christmas presents they’re giving Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo?

If you want to take this way too seriously, and I most certainly do, it seems more plausible that the Star Wars galaxy has its own gift-dispensing Santa — or, since Star Wars takes place a long time ago, at some point Santa relocated to our galaxy and brought Christmas with him. Because the album doesn’t feature the galaxy’s first Christmas, since the droids specifically mention they got Chewbacca a comb for Christmas last year in the album’s Top 40 holiday hit, “What Do You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)”. The answer, incidentally, is “a brush,” which is not only just as crappy a present as a comb, but way worse than what Artoo gets for Christmas, which is a song composed specifically for him titled “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” featuring a young Jon Bon Jovi on lead vocals. (I was about to say maybe the Earth rock star must have been transported to the other galaxy, but I just realised Jon Bon Jovi is a nearly perfect name for a Star Wars character, so there was probably one already there.)

Things get exponentially more confusing in “A Christmas Sighting (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)” where the droids reveal S. Claus makes them all leave the factory before he arrives to pick up the toys, meaning they’ve never seen their employer (master?) in the flesh, which is extremely weird behaviour. When one of the unnamed droids suggests that maybe S. Claus doesn’t exist, Threepio pipes up that he’s seen the man personally just last year. But C-3PO specifies when Santa arrives, he’s already covered in soot — before he picks up and distributes the toys the droids assembled. Is Santa doing recon? Does he not clean himself between Christmases? Does he have a chimney kink?

This is followed by the final song on the album, “The Meaning of Christmas,” in which S. Claus inexplicably visits the droids in his toy factory for the very first time. But S. Claus is not the rotund, jolly fellow C-3PO spied the previous year — he’s the slim, beardless son of Santa Claus, and he helps deliver toys to all the children of the galaxy on Space Christmas. There’s really not much to say after that, except when the droids ask if they’ll be receiving presents, S. Claus tells them their gift is “the happiness your toys bring to children,” which is some serious bullshit.

Again, Christmas in the Stars was no more connected to the Star Wars Expanded Universe than the Holiday Special was — in fact, it’s arguably less so, as the Special had the decency not to mention anything terrestrial (although that’s the only decency it has). And even Santa’s brief appearances in the Expanded Universe were jettisoned when Disney rebooted the canon, so I suppose it’s better to say yes, Virginia, there was a Santa Claus. But if the new Star Wars can reinstate elements of the execrable Holiday Special, why not bring back Santa to give lumps of carbonite to the bad little Siths of the galaxy? It certainly wouldn’t be the most ludicrous thing the franchise has ever done.