Maybe if parents knew about Santa's history, they wouldn't be so keen to give their kids to fat, bearded dudes in fur PJs and then trust them to decide whether they're "naughty" or "nice". According to some mycologists (i.e. biologists specialising in mushrooms), the idea of Santa and his flying reindeer originates from Sámi shamans getting high on 'shrooms during the midwinter pagan ceremonies. To avoid being poisoned, they would feed fly agaric mushrooms to their reindeer and then drink their piss, potent with hallucinogenics. The fly agaric high, supposedly similar to LSD, would play tricks on the shamans’ muscular systems, making them do things like jump a metre when they just wanted to take a small step. It had a similar effect on animals, so when missionaries first reached Santa's native Lapland, they were met with tripped out super-reindeer and tales of bearded men going on reindeer flights and receiving gifts from the spirits. Could it be that the myth of Father Christmas is the result of centuries of Chinese whispers set off by the first missionaries to reach Laponia?
Look at that thing. Could it be that Santa’s famous red, white fur-lined suit was inspired by the scarlet fly agaric shroom with its white warts? It’s generally believed that Santa’s red and white costume originates from Coca-Cola’s 1930s ad campaigns. However, the Siberian shamans wore red and white fur-lined coats and long, black boots during the midwinter festivities of Annual Renewal, during which the shaman would enter his yurt through the smoke hole at the top, carrying a sack full of dried shroom gifts. In Germany, the fly agaric has even been adopted as the symbol of chimney sweeps. Chimneys. Santa. Mind-destroying hallucinogenics. All the puzzle pieces are there. As the fly agaric's madness remains potent even after it's passed through the human body six times – yup, we’re talking urine being drunk and pissed out and then drunk again and pissed out again – some linguists argue the expression "get pissed" comes from this urine-drinking activity, which preceded alcohol by thousands of years. But then again, Laponian shamans didn’t speak English. To draw a conclusion: we all knew that Christmas is about getting pissed. But how different might those Wetherspoons reunion drinks with the friends you've lost all interest in since you moved away from suburbia three years ago be if you were all sat around drinking frothy flagons of hallucinogenic reindeer piss? Though I guess the conversations would be just as disjointed.