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Family Matters

Even Santa makes mistakes


There are a lot of common misconceptions about Santa Claus. For starters, there’s the age-old idea that cookies and milk are his absolute favorite midnight snack. Although he’s faithfully polished off the plate of baked-a-week-ago-by-kids-who-lick-their-fingers-during-flu-season ginger cookies and a mug of 2% milk that my two kiddos leave out for him each Christmas Eve, I would wager to guess that a nice glass of cabernet and an entire bag of white cheddar PopCorners might go over even better with Old Saint Nick.
I also have serious ponderings about the whole “Santa’s elves’’ thing. The thought of tiny people making toys from scratch for the estimated 2 billion children of the world, all while remaining full of unwavering Christmas cheer, really causes me to raise an eyebrow, and that’s mainly because I’ve witnessed a full-grown man just about lose his religion over the assembly of one single prefabricated toddler play kitchen. 
I think I’m forgetting that it’s usually around 1 a.m., one hammer to the thumb, or page 28 of the assembly instructions when we humans tend to lose our very last trace of holly jolly, which is precisely when Santa and his helpers are able to put their magical powers into overdrive.
I have also reasoned that it’s probably because of the elves’ extra-large ears with better listening capability that they are able to pull off the whole toy assembly thing way more efficiently than any human [husband] ever could. I think they actually hear Santa’s gentle and courteous week-before and day-before-Christmas Eve “difficult assembly warning ahead” reminders.
There’s also another matter I’d like to hash out on the subject of Kris Kringle. In fact, I’d like to change the subject from him altogether and give his spouse some of the attention that she surely deserves. Rarely do we ever hear about Mrs. Claus. If it’s true what they say, “behind every man is a great woman,” and most of us would agree that Santa has got to be one of the greatest guys of all time, his partner must be somethin’ pretty special herself.
While I’m no expert on home life at the North Pole, I think it’s safe for me to say that Mrs. Claus probably has a lot going on during the holiday season. I wonder if the fact that Santa gets all the glory on Christmas Day has anything to do with the fact that Mrs. C. is so exhausted from decking the halls, executing the Claus family holiday card, making sure Santa’s suit is freshly laundered for his seemingly endless “pictures with Santa” and “breakfast with Santa” engagements, and feeding a fleet of reindeer, an army of elves, and the guy with the most famous paunch of all-time, that by Dec. 24, she has decided that accompanying her husband on a 31-hour, open-air wintertime sleigh ride is about the last thing she wants to do. Maybe she’s fine with her husband taking all the credit if it means she can stay home in her robe and fuzzy slippers by a crackling fire and binge-watch Hallmark movies in blissful Christmas Eve solitude.
And speaking of Santa’s sleigh, that’s something else that boggles my mind. Now, I've never seen the sleigh in person, but I figure it must be small enough that it, plus nine adult reindeer, can fit on the smallest of roofs. This begs the question: Where DOES Santa put all those presents? I don’t have a reasonable conjecture for this one. 
On Christmas Day, as I pack my extra-large SUV with not an inch to spare of gifts for our family exchange, I wonder how the Big Man crams it all in, and also if he’s ever considered trading in his reins and deer for a newfangled self-driving model, or even outsourcing his deliveries to the good folks at Amazon Prime.
I’ve been mulling the many mysteries of Santa over since I was a young girl, and now that I have two maturing children with a few questions of their own, I’ve come to the conclusion that we just have to chalk it all up to the magic of the holiday season. 
And when my kids ask hard questions like, “Well, if Santa is so magical then how come he makes mistakes, like when he accidentally sent our Elf on the Shelf to that basket on the top shelf of your closet for us to accidentally find in August instead of December? And remember that time that he brought all our toys on Christmas Eve, hid the boxes they came in behind our tool shed, didn’t take them back to the North Pole, and we accidentally found those too? And how he sometimes forgets to bring batteries? And how come he never, ever brings us a puppy even though we always write it in our letters and use our manners every single year?” I simply remind them that no one is perfect, after all, not even Santa Claus himself.