It stands to reason that in these days of social media awareness, one of the easiest ways of adding credibility to the Father Christmas myth is to point your kids in the direction of his Facebook or Twitter account. The problem is, there are so many: A quick glance at Twitter shows more than 20 Father Christmases—including Tourettes Santa, who (as you’d probably expect, from that name) has a bit of a cursing problem—and multiple Clauses, both Santa and apparent relatives. And Facebook has its own proliferation of Old Saint Nickalikes. So which one should you share with your little ones?
First of all, let’s just get rid of all of the Santas, Fathers Christmas and related personas who go for the cheap “I’m Santa… but I curse/hate Christmas/am comedically inept” joke accounts—with the possible exception of @XmasDad, who has won my affection with his announcement on Dec 13 that it was “time to face facts: I won’t get all this sh– out before the 25th. Start telling the children I’m dead. Pls RT. #merryxmas.” More than any other part of the holiday season, Santa is all about sincerity, after all. Save the snark and the jokes for the grown-ups (which is why @XmasDad is worth checking out).
It’s a strange idea, trying to discover the “best” Santa Claus on social media. Santa is, after all, a subjective idea, meaning different things to different people beyond the traditional “old fat guy with a beard and a thing for reindeer.” But still: There are enough broad Santa Truths that we can kick a number of pretenders off the yuletide throne pretty easily. For example: Specialized Santas. Everyone knows that Father Christmas doesn’t sign exclusive deals, so @CambridgeSanta, which announces that it’s “the twitter site of the Santa that appears in Debenhams in Cambridge” is out; even the children in Cambridge should be able to realize that guy’s a fake.
Similarly, anything selling a service seems out of place, so goodbye also to things like Santa Claus House in the North Pole, Indiana’s Santa Claus Land or the odd-but-awesome sounding Santa Claus Museum, all on Facebook. Actually, Facebook has some wonderful Santa-centric pages, including the non-profits Operation Santa Claus and Free Letters from Santa Claus, and the wonderfully-named Why Does Santa Claus Discriminate Against Naughty people? We Have Feelings. None of which, of course, are in the running for the page you should show your children and/or more optimistic or gullible adult friends; but they’re worthy of a mention nonetheless.
But how many Santas does that leave us to choose from? Quite a few, really. It allows you the chance to choose your Facebook Father Christmas from those describing the man as a politician or a public figure (you could make the case for both, really); on a lesser-liked account, he’s also an entertainer. For the Twitter-minded, there’s the Raymond Briggs-inspired curmudgeonly @TheFatherXmas (“Time for some Personal Appearances at shopping centres, town halls, etc. hope I don’t get wee’d on again this year”) or the amazingly sincere NorthPolePost (sample tweet: “Another long day in the workshop! We’re starting to pack gifts in to sacks ready to start loading the sleigh. Not long now, Ho ho ho!”), amongst many, many others.
Of course, all of that may be going far further than necessary when it comes to the kind of internet proof of Santa’s existence for cynical, tech-savvy offspring. As everyone knows by now, there’s one website that provides everything anyone needs to know about Santa: NORAD Tracks Santa, which will begin its annual following of the festive one in eight days and a number of hours, depending on when you’re reading this. And, yes; there is a Twitter account and Facebook page for the site. If that doesn’t convince them, then… Well, maybe it’s time to distract them with that Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer DVD one more time.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.