When you’re in a relationship with someone, you start to learn a lot about their habits and quirks. Maybe it’s the way they touch their hair when they’re nervous, or how they sometimes snort while they’re laughing. The same holds true for Santa Claus, that holly jolly fellow who rocks a red plush suit unlike anyone else. And while you might not know a whole lot about Mr. C., there are some signature moves that he always does. So if you’ve ever wondered why Santa Claus touches his nose, there’s actually a few reasons why.
You might be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and see Santa Claus on his sleigh as part of the grand finale. As Mr. C. bops about on the float, laughing and smiling, you might see Santa tilting his face and touching his nose. But why, you wonder? Is his nose stuffy? Is it itching, and he’s trying to surreptitiously scratch it in front of a live audience of millions of viewers? Or maybe his skin is dry, because the cold air from the North Pole can do that to you.
As it turns out, the reason why Santa Claus touches his nose has nothing to do with the common cold. In fact, Santa is trying to send a secret signal, particularly to the parents. When Santa Claus comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve, there might be a kiddo who unexpectedly wakes up (or a parent, ahem, putting some presents under the tree). And if St. Nick is spotted, it could ruin Christmas forever! And that’s why Santa Claus touches his nose, because he’s trying to acknowledge that someone has seen him, and he’s telling them to keep it a secret.
But why wouldn’t he simply put his finger to his lips, then, instead of his nose? Well, part of that hearkens back to the song, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. In one of the song’s most famous lines, sung by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, they sing, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” So instead of pointing his finger to his head, Santa Claus touches his nose, to show that he “nose” when you’re awake. That’s why he’s putting his finger to his nose, to show that he knows he’s been spotted, and wants you to keep quiet so that the Christmas magic can continue for everyone.
Although you might see Santa Claus on commercials, in the mall, or on TV, seeing him inside your home on Christmas is something very special. And so that everyone can have that same sweet experience, Mr. C. wants to make sure that even if you see him, you should keep it a secret — for goodness’ sake.