Hanukkah may have come and gone, but according to some random post I stumbled across on the internet, there are “approximately 29 holidays observed by seven of the world’s major religions …
Hanukkah may have come and gone, but according to some random post I stumbled across on the internet, there are “approximately 29 holidays observed by seven of the world’s major religions celebrated in the month of December,” and that, boys and girls, is why I just say “Happy Holidays,” and hope for the best.
That said, I know that chirping, “Merry Christmas,” is (IMHO) appropriate much of the time, especially if Santa is in da house. Such was the case last weekend; when I heard that Old St. Nick would be making an appearance at the annual Holiday in Hurleyville town-wide celebration of all things, (you guessed it) holiday. In Hurleyville.
“Wouldn’t it be great,” I said to Dharma, as she pawed through her seasonal sweater collection, “if I could score an actual interview with the fat man? I think he and the missus are temporarily setting up shop at the Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre. Oh, just pick something!” I yelped, tossing the dog a knitted vest emblazoned with paw prints and the words “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Once there, I took photos of Santa enchanting the little ones, while Mrs. Claus snapped pics and elves scampered about handing out gifts. During a break, I asked Santa if he had time for an interview, and he laughed so hard his belly shook like, well, you know. “Today is all about the children,” he chuckled and handed me his card. “Connect with me on Facetime after hours,” he said with a wave. “Have your people call my people and we can have a video conference call. Gotta go!”
Two days later I did just that, and it went a little something like this.
Jonathan Charles Fox: Thank you for making time for me, Santa. I know you’re a busy man. Where are you exactly? At the North Pole?
Santa Claus: Yes. It’s a balmy 10 degrees here today.
JCF: It’s amazing that you have a strong Wi-Fi signal up there. By the way, Dharma was thrilled to meet you! Do you get a lot of animals wanting to sit on your lap?
SC: You’d be surprised. We had two kitty cats visit yesterday. They came in a stroller and we took a nice group photo. Ho ho ho.
JCF: let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I guess you already know that I’m Jewish and I don’t know a lot about you. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you, Mrs. Claus and the elves—you’re magical beings, right?
SC: That’s right. Christmas is all about magic. A lot of children ask, what makes reindeer fly? Christmas magic. How do I make it around the world in one night? Christmas magic. Even I don’t know quite how it works. I think the world needs a little Christmas magic right now. Don’t you agree?
JCF: Absolutely. I don’t want to be rude, but how old are you exactly?
SC: Well, that is a sensitive question. Let’s just say that I’ve been around for a while, and I wasn’t invented by the folks who make Coca-Cola, even though I do drink it. Diet, of course!
JCF: Good to know. Ready for questions from our readers?
SC: Of course!
JCF: Referencing the great Mel Brooks and his comic interviews with the two thousand-year-old man, Jamee S. of Bethel, NY, wants to know what you prefer—boxers or briefs?
SC: Long johns, of course! It’s cold at the North Pole!
JCF: You probably know that the River Reporter has fans all over the country. Rick W. from South Carolina wrote in to ask if you have a favorite kind of cocoa. You do like cocoa, right?
SC: As long as it has mini-marshmallows. I’m a big fan of marshmallows. I mean, look at me. Ho ho ho!
JCF: The total world population is over seven billion right now. When I was a kid, that number was only about three billion. That’s a lot of kids. How do you keep up with the increase in your workload?
SC: Technology. The elves used to use paper and pencil to keep lists. Now it’s all computerized.
JCF: I have another personal question if you don’t mind. Why did you and the missus never have children of your own?
SC: Mrs. Claus and I are blessed one night of t:he year to call all of the world’s children our own. By the way, have you heard about our Elf on a Shelf program? It’s been highly successful! Ho ho ho!
JCF: Once again, Santa, I thank you for your time. If you had one last thing you’d like to impart to our readers, what would that be?
SC: We say it every year at holiday time, but we need it all year long. Joy to the world, peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. Whatever your traditions, be kind to others and remember to embrace your inner child. No matter how old you are, don’t ever lose sight of that innocence. If more people would do that, the world would be a happier place. Uh oh—Mrs. Claus just texted that the elves are grumbling again. Gotta fly. Happy holidays!
Fun Fact: The Coca-Cola Company did not create the legend of Santa Claus, but in 1931, Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to paint Santa for Christmas advertisements. Those paintings established Santa as a warm, happy character with human features, including rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines.
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