Two strangely charming old men arrive each Christmas. One, Santa Claus, is fictional. The other, Professor John Trinkaus, of the Zicklin school of business in New York City, merely seems fictional.
This year is Trinkaus’s fourth on the international Christmas scene. His gift to us – all of us – this time is a study called Visiting Santa: An Additional Look.
It is a follow-up to last year’s Visiting Santa: A Further Look. That was a sequel to the previous year’s Visiting Santa: Another Look, which expanded on the work he described in the very first of his Santa-related studies, the 2004 classic Santa Claus: An Informal Look.
Each of these reports gives a cheerfully dreary look at the behaviour of children and their parents in a shopping mall….
So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.
[NOTE: Trinkaus won the 2003 Ig Nobel Literature Prize for his numerous studies of things that annoy him. It is believed that, directly or indirectly, Trinkaus’s Santa research inspired the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s “Scared of Santa” photo gallery, the source of the photo shown here. ]