What Santa Taught Me This Year

Every year my parents instruct us to write a note to Santa to put with the milk and cookies. This year I was the only child who conceded, but only because I had the ulterior motive of pointing the finger of blame at a certain jolly old man. I wrote a letter to him asking questions like, “Does it ever bother you that people sometimes compare you to Jesus Christ?” “Why do you keep buzzing around the world ever year in 2014? Don’t you feel like kids lose their innocence way before they can even enjoy your existence?” These questions were followed by a call to action to use his resources to stop feeding consumerism and actually help better the world. Ho ho ho.

This was Santa’s response, though the writing style is very similar to my father’s.

Dear [Maney],

You ask hard questions, and they have troubled me too for many years. Before I offer you an answer, I think I should clear up a misapprehension about my nature. I am a legend, a myth, a magical being, and a one-trick pony.

I am what humans have made me, and I cannot change myself unless the stories about me change. I do one thing and I do it with power and craft. I cannot take upon myself the lofty goals you suggest, as I have no free will. That is left for the humans, and it is the source of their power and tragedy.

That said, I do what I can when I’m not wearing the red suit. I read to kids in cancer wards. I serve soup to lost men and women. I am a ferocious knitter and I whip up warm hats and hand them out in snowstorms. I know about “think globally act locally,” [Maney], and I take very seriously any comparisons to the Prince of Peace. I strive to live up to the image.

But I cannot change the world. I have no power there. You humans have all the power, [Maney], and I hear you shouting “Cop out!” but it’s not. It’s the design. Stories are not actions. Actions create stories. Because of good saints and long-ago acts of good will, I am who I am. But you can be anything, and all of you can be naughty or nice at will, at your whim. I envy you.

I also stole some eggnog. Mmm. Thanks for the cookie. My best to the others and see you next year.

PS. I do watch, you know. Keep up the good work. You and each of you are of inestimable worth.

* * *

So, dear Readers, I hope your Christmas (or other assorted holidays and celebrations) was merry and bright. Here’s a music video I whipped together this year. It’s super high quality. 😉

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