Relay: Dear Santa And Co.

It’s a tough racket, the Santa gig

First of all, I want to say thank you, Santa, and all your helpers for fanning out across the globe in these weeks leading up to Christmas to help keep the magic alive. It’s not easy being in so many places at once while also making your list and checking it twice. All those decked-out halls can get pretty noisy when the squeals of excited children are fueled by candy canes and sugar cookies. It’s enough to drive anyone to distraction.

The youngest children, and most ardent believers, can be reluctant to sit for a photo, and the older ones are growing ever more skeptical and less enchanted, doubting your very existence. There’s just a small window of time in which all the elements align and the little ones are filled with wonder and awe at the sight of you. 

It’s a tough racket, the Santa gig, so I don’t want to criticize, but I do have two basic pointers for those of you out there gallant enough to take on this job. 

It’s true that there are divergent opinions about some of the basics. Is Santa Claus a jolly old elf? And, if so, is he an unusually small man? Or is he an elf of human-size proportions? Or is he not an elf at all? While you ponder that one, let’s move on to what he knows and what he doesn’t. 

I think we can agree that he knows when you’ve been bad or good, but how exactly does he know? Does he have a crystal ball? Hidden cameras? Does he get texts from your parents? And if he knows when you’ve been sleeping and when you’re awake, shouldn’t he also know your name? I mean, it makes sense that he should know your name if he knows all those other things. 

So we arrive at tip number one: The real Santa knows the names of the children who visit him to tell him what they’d like for Christmas. The real Santa, and his helpers too, should probably not begin the conversation by asking a child’s name. 

And if he hasn’t been paying close enough attention to pick up the name during regular surveillance, does it really matter that Johnny stole his sister’s candy cane or Jill snuck some extra doughnuts to eat in bed after her parents tucked her in or Annie took their old iPhone to school without asking them? I’d argue it does, so let’s just get the names straight or find a way avoid the subject. 

Another tip, and this one comes from personal experience: While in full dress, Santa should not ask parents if they know who he is. And when they respond in the only prudent way, “You’re Santa,” he should not then press them to guess again and reveal his alternate identity while posing for a picture with their child. 

“Who’s Bob?” (I’m changing the name to protect the guilty.)

“Well, honey, Bob is one of Santa’s helpers, but don’t worry, he’ll get your list to Santa.” 

It’s a tangled web we parents weave at this time of year; we could all use a little magic to keep from getting caught in it. 


Carissa Katz is The Star’s managing editor.