Santa may be coming on Tuesday night with a sleigh loaded down with toys, but he’s leaving with enough cookies and milk to choke the U.S. Army, if the letters to Santa printed in my newspaper’s special section this weekend are any indication.
(I was able to get an early peek because one of the little-known duties of local newspaper editors is to serve as a temp administrative assistant for Santa, sorting his mail and typing.)
Most everyone plans to leave out cookies and milk, kind of a quid pro quo: Here are all the toys I want, and since you do such a good job there’s a little something extra that will be waiting for you by the tree.
Except one kid who was going to leave out some cheesecake. Santa probably appreciates a break from all the cookies and milk (one child said he was leaving out some water because he thinks Santa doesn’t like milk – and after the first few hundred gallons, he probably doesn’t).
If you don’t have young children, the letters give you a glimpse into a world you didn’t know existed: the world of what children in 2013 play with. Ever hear of Lalaloopsy dolls? I hadn’t, but they appear to be THE thing for many girls – almost as big a deal as Monster High dolls, which I would have assumed were based on a cartoon, but Wikipedia says I’m mistaken: “The characters are inspired by monster movies, sci-fi horror, thriller fiction, and various demons therefore distinguishing them from most fashion dolls.”
Skimming through the letters, you see a lot of things multiple times. The iPod, iPad and iPhone, for instance, all come in for repeat mentions.
Every now and then, though, something pops out: “I would like a castle and a jail.”
That’s all, just a castle and jail. Everyone knows Santa can read children’s minds, so he’ll know what that means, but I can’t shake the image of a 4-year-old boy in a stone fortress ordering his guards to toss his older siblings into his private dungeon.
“I would want two coloring books for my brother and sister. And two big Christmas hats. And three medium hats.”
Somebody really likes hats.
Another thing the kids say is how good they have been this year. Most of them say that. Some toss in qualifiers:
“I’ve been very good cause I didnt do nothing.”
“I been good this week.”
“I think I have been pretty good this year. Last year I deserved coal for being bad.”
“I was gonna be a good boy but I dont know what happened.”
One turned the issue around: “Hey Santa, have I been a good boy?”
A few slipped in what I took to be pleas for justice that the children feel is not being adequately dispensed at home:
“I have already written what I want so can you please get my mom some earrings and my brother dustin some coal and he is sixteen!”
“I been good this year my brother has not been good.”
“I’ve been very good but Isaiah aint.”
I haven’t written to Santa in something like 45 years, but all together, the letters inspired me.
I have pretty much everything I really need already, but there is one thing I really want for Christmas this year, and you wouldn’t even have to leave it at my house. What I really want is a solution to the news industry’s declining revenue. I know that I haven’t always been good this year, but surely somewhere in the country is a journalist who has been good all year and deserves to have this solution first. … Well, maybe that’s expecting too much.
In that case, could you just send me an easygoing billionaire who likes reading and will buy my newspaper and let me hire another 10 or 12 reporters?
If not that, then at least how about some nice hats?
Thank you, Santa. I know you’ll do your best. I don’t have any cookies in the house, but there’s beer in the fridge.