Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Classic Caterpickles: “Why doesn’t Santa have heart disease?”

A relatively trim Santa skips the cookies in favor of petting the cat, or The Five-Year-Old’s most compelling argument for why we should just go ahead and adopt a cat now. (Image: Public Domain.)

After reading The Night Before Christmas, The (then) Five-Year-Old and I had a conversation about the perils of smoking, and whether Santa smoked.

The (then) Five-Year-Old had obviously been busy processing this information because a few days later she asked me, “Why doesn’t Santa have heart disease?”

Mommyo: “It’s an excellent question. He’s got lots of risk factors for it. He smokes, he doesn’t get much exercise, he’s overweight…”

The (then) Five-Year-Old: “He eats a bunch of cookies….”

Mommyo: “It must be really stressful delivering all those presents on time…”

The (then) Five-Year-Old: “And he’s really old.”

Mommyo: “The only thing I can think of is that he’s a magical being, and they aren’t subject to the same sorts of rules we are.”

The (then) Five-Year-Old: “Like what?”

Mommyo: “Well, Santa can fly. That’s pretty magical. And he can deliver presents to every kid in the entire world in one night. That seems pretty magical, too. Maybe his magic also protects him from heart disease.”

The (then) Five-Year-Old, dubiously: “Mommyo, I think you should just ask Caterpickles.”

(Update 12/3/2020) It took a few years, but I have good news for Santa fans

Dr. Anthony Fauci apparently agrees with me about Santa having natural immunity to the health issues that beset the rest of us. In a recent interview with USAToday, Dr. Fauci said that Santa is immune to COVID-19.

“Santa is exempt from this,” Fauci told USA Today on Wednesday, “because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity.”

CNNWire by David Williams and ABC7 News Staff, “Dr. Fauci: Santa has natural COVID-19 immunity; pandemic won’t stop Christmas gifting,” 22 November 2020

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5 Responses to “Classic Caterpickles: “Why doesn’t Santa have heart disease?””

  1. Rose Bliss

    I love your blog, but this one bothered me. I would hope you would take the time to teach her that not everyone who is fat is sick. Just because a person is fat, it doesn’t mean they they have high blood pressure, diabetes (no matter how the commercials are portrayed) or heart disease. There are plenty of thin people with these health problems too. Not everyone who smokes is going to die from lung cancer. People of all sizes and ages deal with stress and get cancer. Stigmatizing people because of size and age just continues to set people up for criticism and discrimination. Please don’t add to it.


    • Shala Howell


      Thank you for reading Caterpickles and for taking the time to write in with your concerns.

      I owe you two apologies.

      The first is easier. I’m sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment. I had put Caterpickles on auto-pilot for the holidays, and hadn’t been in a position to respond sooner.

      The second is more important. We have our own struggles with weight here at Caterpickles, and it was never my intention to poke fun at people who share those struggles. However, in reviewing my post again, I can see why you read it that way.

      I can only say that I’m sorry.

      You are right, having the risk factor for a disease is not the same as having the disease itself. Thank you for pointing that out. I will make certain my daughter understands the difference, and be more careful to reflect that difference in my own writing going forward.

      Happy New Year, and I hope I will see you around Caterpickles again soon.


      • roseblissblog

        Shala, thank you for understanding and for responding. I am one of those with a “weight problem” although I no longer see it that.. this is just the way I am, just as my mother was tall and thin. I constantly get asked “what do you do about your diabetes?” My response if that I don’t have diabetes (or high blood pressure or heart disease) and they usually answer with.. “but of course, you do, look at you.” It’s sad that people are judged by the way they look. I’m glad that you understand that isn’t the case. I am 66 and plus size and I’ve never been healthier in my life. My daughter was like my mother, tall and thin, beautiful and active and she still died when she was 16.


      • Shala Howell

        Oh Rose, my heart breaks to read about your daughter. {{{Hugs}}}

        You are right. Again. Overall health is more important than size.

        A few years ago, I would avoid seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while if I felt I had gained too much weight since whenever it was I had last seen them.

        But I have finally realized that avoiding old friends because I am ashamed of not looking the way I did twenty years ago is no way to live. We are who we are, and people will either accept that or not. I have no control over their response. But I can control whether or not I let my fear of their response stop me from living.

        Thanks again for stopping by and writing in.


      • roseblissblog

        I totally understand that.. been there, don’t that too. I’m slowly learning that I am who I am. Thank you for sharing your thoughts online, and for being so open-minded!! I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know. I truly do love your blog. When it found it reminded me of my own daughter. She use to call caterpillars “caperpilars”, so I had to laugh at your blog title. It brought a little bit of her back to me. Thank you!


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