Last year, at the age of eight, my daughter left a letter for Santa Claus by the fireplace (along with some carrots and cookies). She said she knew she was fortunate and didn’t need anything herself besides maybe a good long book series or two. She said she’d like to communicate with Santa at the North Pole all year, if possible. Other than that, she wished for all the unfortunate kids to get presents and for it to snow everywhere on Christmas Day.
To her astonishment, Santa wrote back. Here’s what he said (in a script font):
Dear M. Fishman,
Thank you for your letter. Since I am very busy, I have had to dictate my reply to one of my elves. I apologize for his poor handwriting. I will answer your requests one by one.
First, the North Pole is only open one magical day per year, and we’re very busy that day, so there is no way to contact me directly. I’m sorry.
Second, there is only so much snow to go around, so it can’t snow all over the world on Christmas. Everyone has to take turns.
Third, I just gave my last long book series to a little girl who is much less fortunate than you. So maybe your parents or your grandparents will give you one. Either way, the important thing is that you keep reading everything you can.
Finally, Santa does his best for the poor children all over the world. But even Santa doesn’t have the power to help everyone all the time. That’s why it’s important for you to have a kind heart and to help the poor people of the world yourself whenever you get a chance. I know I can count on you to do so, because the elves tell me you have one of the biggest hearts in the world.
Be good always and remember: love is not measured in gifts or other material things, but in the way we treat all those around us, especially when it is hardest to do so.
This year, at age nine, she writes again:
Dear Santy Claus,
I enjoyed hearing from you. This year I decided to type this on my computer to show you something, your elf has quite neat handwriting, see it’s as good as the computer can do! Any how, I really would like to know a bit about this elf who is writing my letters for you. I’d really like to know his name, his favorite color, it’s gender, it’s favorite thing to do, and it’s favorite job that it does at your work shop! I don’t want any thing for Christmas except a letter back and some answers to some questions that I will soon list. Actually, I know I’m very fortunate and am not in big need of this, but if you could get me some more doll house things and a french bulldog puppy for my mom (this is not very important just a thought) that would be excellent! I want to tell you a few things about your letter…
First, I completely understand that the North Pole is only opened one day, and I’d like to know where you live when you are not there? At the beach perhaps?
Second, it’s a cool fact that snow can’t fall all over the world! Can you make it snow where ever you want or does mother nature do that?
Third, I think it’s really great that you give your biggest things to the less fortunate people. I feel so happy for the girl you gave your last long book series to! I wish her and all others less fortunate than I a merry Christmas this year!
And last, I love that you try your best with the poor and less fortunate, and as I grew older I realized that nobody can change anybody else’s lives except their own lives. And that is a very unfortunate thing on this earth.
The second letter is for Mrs. Claus and the elves. Please give it to them. I hope you take some treats home for Mrs. Claus and the elves but I hope you enjoyed the ones you chose for your self. This year once again we have some carrots for the reindeer, but if they like something else please tell me so in your letter back so I can get the treat for next Christmas. Hope you have no trouble with getting stuck in the chimney!
Dear Mrs. Claus and elves,
Do you all work a lot on Christmas Eve? Does Santa have an iPad? What do you guys (gals) want for Christmas? How many reindeer do you all own? Do you ever ride them? What are their names? What does Rudolph’s (if you have a Rudolph) nose look like? Is it hot? Can you use it as a lightbulb? Do you guys (gals) ever do another job besides work for Santa? I’m really proud of all of you for doing such a good job!
And Santa replies:
Dear M. Fishman,
How nice that you keep writing to me and what wonderful questions from such a little girl. But wait! I just realized that you are a pretty big girl by now. I have so many children to follow that I lose track of their ages sometimes.
Last year I discovered that my writing elf was cheating by using the computer’s script font instead of writing by hand. Ah, well. What’s Saint Nicholas to do? There are so many letters to answer that I can hardly blame the little fellow.
This year, my writing elf is so busy, in fact, that Mrs. Claus has had to help out. She’s taking dictation while I tack up my sleigh. If we make a mistake, please forgive us. Tacking up takes lots of attention, and if I get just one little strap out of order the sleigh won’t fly and the presents will be late!
So, to your questions. The elf’s name is a secret, I’m afraid. We don’t give out elf names because we don’t want them to be overwhelmed with individual requests. His favorite color is red, which is the favorite color of all elves. His favorite thing to do is to make toys, of course, especially Wii games. Sometimes it makes him sad to know that Nintendo takes credit for all the Wii games he makes, but I remind him that forgiveness is in the spirit of the season — well, so long as they’re not on the naughty list.
Now, with regard to your feedback on my letter…
First, when I am not at the North Pole, I am at the South Pole. With my big belly and my thick beard, hot places are not for me.
Second, I cannot make it snow wherever I want and I’ve no time to worry about that, as I’m busy coordinating toy delivery for a big world. Everyone has their own job on Earth — it’s called compartmentalization.
Third, the little girl in question did indeed love her long book series. Thank you for being so understanding.
Last, you’re right that no one can change anybody else’s life but their own. Yet I must add that this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t show compassion for those who are having problems making those changes.
Now, with regard to Mrs. Claus, I will answer for her, as she is not authorized to communicate with anyone but elves.
First, yes she does work on Christmas Eve. She slaves over a wonderful stew that she cooks in a great cauldron for me and the elves. We never touch a drop of it until the last present is delivered in Kamchatka. (No iPads, by the way. I keep everything in my head.)
Second, the number of reindeer is classified information. Also, I can’t say anything about their names except that the man who wrote that silly poem got almost every one wrong. Shows what he knew!
This whole thing about Rudolph has also gotten blown way out of proportion. Poor thing just had a little shine there from moisture and that was years ago. I fly above the clouds, where the visibility is always perfect, and the moon guides me. No need for lightbulbs or glowing noses.
And, no! You can’t ride reindeer. They’re too small. A man of my size would crush them. (That goes for Mrs. Claus, too.)
Finally, yes, I do have another job. You may see me most days in the off-season, sitting at my—
Whoa! Uh-oh! The last bit of tack just slid under the last keeper and off we go!
Merry Christmas to all and to all — aw, you know the rest, kid.