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An Interview with Santa

by Joseph Montebello

This being the season to be jolly we look forward to the return of the man in the red suit. I thought it might be a time to sit down with ole Santa and see how things are shaping up for this year’s festivities.

The workshop was as I remembered it: a hub of activity. Some elves were running to and fro carrying massive bags filled with letters from children all over the world. Others were busily sorting the requests and creating piles for Santa to review. From a window at the end of the workshop I spotted several of the reindeer ambling about snacking on grass and enjoying the calm before the big night when they would be called into action. In a cubicle at the other end of the room Mrs. Claus was deeply engrossed in a pile of ledgers.

“Looks like everything is moving along nicely,” I said.

“Well, not too much time left,” Santa replied. “The mail keeps coming and we could use some more help in getting the letters read. But we had to assign a few elves to help my son with the computers.”

Computers? Son? I followed Santa’s eyes and saw that a corner of the workshop now housed a series of computers, with a younger version of Santa at the helm of one, explaining something to his assistants.

“I had no idea you had a son who was in the business.”

“Well, he wasn’t,” Santa said. “But Harry’s a computer genius and when those e-mails started arriving, I knew we’d be in trouble without someone to traffic them. Even though we still get masses of written letters, today’s savvy kids resort to e-mails. And frankly, it’s hard for me to connect. But we need to grant their wishes as well.’

Santa on the Internet. Who would have thought?

“Now, we’re not going to totally be computerized and I draw the line at Skype,” Santa declared. “The sled will still leave at the required time on Christmas Eve to get everything delivered. And, of course, we’ll stop to enjoy the goodies that parents have left for us to eat after we finish our work. There is no getting away from the fact that young children still look forward to our visit. And even if they have some doubt, once they start opening those packages, it disappears.”

Santa’s son chimed in that e-mail made things easier and since his father wasn’t getting any younger, it was important for him to step in and begin the next phase.

“Pop still loves the excitement of finding exactly what every kid wants,” he explained. My job is made easier because e-mail requests usually include where I can find the item!”

Santa didn’t seem bothered by the changes. “As long as kids are still excited about Christmas, it doesn’t matter how they contact me. It’s the pleasure I get from helping them get their wishes. Computer or paper, fed ex or sled. It’s all the same.”

And that’s why Santa will never go out of style.