“Santa Claus, I have a confession to make. In 7th grade I was the one responsible for the stink bomb in the school library. I blamed Chad Kowalski, but he was an innocent bystander. I understand if you want me to return the Sega Dreamcast you gave me that year. I am sorry I never admitted this before.” — Salvatore M., Stamford, CT
I have a confession to make, too, Salvatore. We here at the North Pole knew about the stink bomb. I’m surprised you think this incident would have been enough to put you on the Naughty List, or disqualify you from getting a Sega Dreamcast. Sometimes as we get older and the guilt about some small event in our childhood takes on oversized mythical meaning. We knew Chad wasn’t involved. You should send him a note on Facebook. He’d be happy to hear from you!
The Naughty and Nice Lists are based on a lot of intel. So, we also knew that that year you very patiently helped teach your brother Vincent to tie his shoes. And that you were there for your mom when she got really sick. You made sure that lost cat Bella found her way home. And you gave that wallet on the street back to the old man who dropped it instead of taking it for yourself. You were a lot nicer than you remember.
You should take that Dreamcast system out, dust it off and play it with your daughter, Maria. I think she would like playing Marvel v. Capcom with her dad. Have a great holiday!
“Hey, Santa. I got a toy rifle last Christmas and my mom took it away. Can you put her on the Naughty List?” — Jennifer W., Falls Township, PA
Thank you for telling me, Jennifer. I’m afraid I’m the one who made the mistake, not your mother. I was wondering where I left that toy gun. There’s a kid on your block that it was meant for! I went nuts looking all over the sleigh for it! I emptied out my bag and it was nowhere to be found. I had to leave that boy an IOU. If you could please tell your mom to leave out the gun I will make sure it goes to the right kid this year. Sometimes this jolly old elf is rushing a little bit too much on Christmas Eve. And even I make mistakes. Forgive me!
Toys like that aren’t for everyone. And your mother knows best for you, even when it seems that she doesn’t. Your mom can be very strict. I believe that someday you will come to appreciate her strictness, even though her rules can be hard to live with now that you’re young. Let me leave you an IOU this year, Jennifer. Write to me in a few years (I love getting your letters!), and if you still want that rifle then I’ll speak to your mom and work something out. She works very hard and loves you very much. Try and remember that when her rules seem hard!
“Santa, every year I leave you out a snack or something. What would you like me to leave you out this year?” — Cassie G., Lubbock, TX
Cassie, thanks so much for the cannoli last year. I enjoyed it very much, particularly because someone seems to have enjoyed a little of the frosting before I arrived (I think it was maybe Carl, your wonderful dog). Many people leave out food and drinks, and I enjoy consuming it all. But I’d rather you leave me out something different this year, if you don’t mind?
I don’t know if you remember, but a few years back you wrote to me and included a wonderful drawing of yourself and Frosty the Snowman. I have had it on the wall behind my desk ever since. I’ll be working hard at my desk in August, perhaps on the phone, and I’ll turn and look at it. It makes me smile whenever I see it, and I think of you and how much I enjoy visiting your part of Texas. You’re a really great kid and I think it’s a great drawing. You really got Frosty perfect, too. You wrote, “Santa, I Believe in You!” across the sky. Thank you, I love it.
So can you leave me a drawing of yourself and Frosty again? You’ve grown up so much over the last few years! I’d like to hang it next to the drawing you sent me back then. I hope this is not too much to ask and you have enough time to put this together before I visit. If not, I understand.
I will say hi to Frosty for you if I see him. He is particularly proud of the sly grin you gave him years ago, and he would like you to know that he actually does wear a blue bow tie quite frequently! In your honor!
“Santa, instead of gifts this year I want a different new President. Can you make this happen?” — Paul S., Portland, OR
Paul, I understand your feelings. I try not to get too involved in politics. There are nice and naughty Republicans and Democrats. And I have met many U.S. Presidents from both parties. And they can be very different in person than they are on TV or in history books. Being President is a very difficult job. And politics can be a tough business. This election year was particularly rough and many people feel upset. Other kids have been upset over the years about the current President. Try and keep that in mind.
Let me just say, that no matter who the President is, you are a very nice kid and you deserve to get nice things. I really can’t do anything about who the President is or isn’t, but I enjoy giving gifts to kids on the Nice List. And you made it! So do this for an old elf like me, OK? I will leave you a few things, and it will be up to you what you do with them. If you like them, OK. If not, give them to your friends to read and play with. But one of the things I admire about you most is that you look out for others and are willing to sacrifice for their sakes.
Please continue to feel and act passionately when you’re so moved! It’s difficult when we invest ourselves in elections and do not come out on top. But keep fighting for the things you believe in and try not to become too jaded.
I’m sorry if this seems like a lame answer to your request, but I strongly believe in democracy even if it’s messy and the outcomes are unpleasant. The system works! If people like you don’t give up on it!
“Santa, what’s your favorite place to visit in the world?” — Ruth B., Kalispell, MT
Kalispell is a very nice place. I enjoy getting to Montana every year very much, Ruth. I don’t know if I can choose just one place. Me and the reindeer are always very impressed to fly over the Great Wall of China or behold the skyline of Abu Dhabi. There’s a very nice cafe we always stop into that has a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
If I had to choose my favorite place in the world to visit, I guess it would be a very small fishing village tucked away along the New Brunswick coast. As we ride the curve of the Earth toward Canada we can see it lit from far off with lights and decorations. It is so quaint and unspoiled. The salt air rises briskly from the waves. Every year someone writes “Hello, Santa” on their roof in the snow. One family always leaves me out a bucket of smelts. It’s a special place, and I love it there.
We also visit the International Space Station every year. It is quite a trip to get up there! And the view is amazing!
“I don’t think our daughter believes in you anymore, Santa. What can be done?” — Eve T., Bakersfield, CA
She is a very smart young lady and I admire her very much. I believe in her. And I always will. No matter what!
Santa Claus lives in the North Pole, and wishes you all Happy Holidays.