This piece is the second installment of my past annual Christmas stories that will lead up to my new one on Christmas Day. I hope you enjoy it and sorry that it’s a bit lengthy.
I bet you didn’t know that Jacksonville, Florida is the last stop on Santa’s delivery route. Well, I didn’t know until this year either.
Early this Christmas morning I was awakened by a loud thump coming from our living room. Wondering who or what it was I grabbed my trusty old Louisville Slugger baseball bat and snuck out of our bedroom door to find out.
When I saw who it was I had to pinch myself and rub my eyes to be sure I was awake. To my surprise it was none other than old Saint Nick himself. He was in the process of leaving the last of our presents under our tree. I took a peek and noticed he had placed under the tree a new spring wet suit for me.
As I stumbled around he finally spotted me and we ended up staring at each other eye to eye. “It’s good to see you Paul, you’re just the man I wanted to see. This is my last stop and I wanted to talk with you”.
“Me, why me of all people”, I replied in disbelief.
“Well Paul, I know you’re a writer and I have a lot of things I want to get off my chest. Over the years there has been a great deal of misinformation spread around about me and I want you to help me set the record straight”.
“That’s great Santa but why me and not someone like Diane Sawyer? I hear she gives a great interview”.
“I don’t want to go to her. She will only make a big deal about it and try to get me on TV. I came to you because you are one of the few adults I know who still believes in me and I know you will tell my story correctly and protect my privacy”.
“Sure Santa. Thanks a bunch, but first let me go and get a pen and some paper so I can take notes. By the way, can I get you something to eat or drink”?
“Heavens no. Thanks for asking but I have been downing milk and cookies all night and if I eat one more thing I’m going to barf”.
After I returned we sat down and I asked, “So how do you want to do this”?
After rubbing his hairy white beard he replied, “How about we do it Q&A style”.
“That works for me so here we go’, I replied with a big old grin.
Me: Ok Santa, let’s get the record straight. Does your job change hands over time or is it a forever kind of thing?
Santa: Good question and one I wanted to set straight on. Despite what you might have heard it’s a forever thing. Fortunately it’s one I like very much, Ho, Ho, Ho.
Me: I kind of thought so, now tell me if you like how you came to get the job and how long you’ve had it.
Santa: Well back in 1863, when I was a mere fifty-five years old, my wife and I were living in Oslo, Norway. I was a simple sheep herder. Although we had couldn’t have children we loved them very much. Every year on Christ’s birthday we would deliver presents we made to the poor kids of the area and lay the on their doorsteps. Apparently the big guy from up above liked what we were doing and sent an angel down to make us a proposition. The angel told us God wanted to have a symbol of his love that people could relate to and came up with the name Santa Clause. He wanted that person to be a benevolent spirit to give hope and joy to the world and deliver presents to the people of earth in much the same was the three wise men had done for his son. The angel then said there were a few proviso’s I had to agree to if I took the job.
Me: Ok Santa you have me on the edge of my seat so what were those proviso’s?
Santa: First of all he said it would have to be a job until the end of time. Secondly, we’d have to move to the North Pole for secrecy and lastly we had to work with a bunch of elves who would help make all of the toys.
Me: That must have been a difficult decision. How long did it take you to make up your mind?
Santa: To tell you the truth, at first I didn’t think I was up to the task. I wondered how on earth I could deliver all of those gifts around the world overnight. But after the angel told me about their idea for a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer and that he would give me magical powers, I figured what the heck and I accepted.
Me: That’s cool, so tell me more about the elves.
Santa: Well, there are a lot of misconceptions about them. They really aren’t what you see in the movies. In reality they are really kind spirits whom God put back on earth to help me do the work. We simply call them elves because it sounds better than calling them reincarnated spirits.
Me: That makes sense. I guess they are more like the Christmas angel Gideon in the Movie “One Special Christmas”.
Santa: (laughing and shaking like a bowl full of jelly) I guess you could say that but instead of meeting people at a mailbox, Christmas angels send their messages to a person telepathically.
Me: I’m glad you cleared that up for me. So what other myths do you want to bust?
Santa: Despite what you’ve heard, I don’t just deliver presents. I also deliver intangible things like hope, forgiveness, generosity and love. After all aren’t those the most important gifts of all?
Me: That makes sense to me but a lot of people don’t believe its something you do.
Santa: That’s because for most people it’s hard to believe I something you can’t see.
Me: You’ve got that right but there’s one thing I’ve always wondered about. What do you do with your time off after Christmas?
Santa: Somehow I knew this question was going to come up. The truth is we stay really busy most of the year but we do take a two week vacation every summer to the beach, incognito of course, and believe it or not I spend most of my time surfing. One of the perks of this job is that as I am flying all over the world I get to check out the best surf spots and we head to a different spot each year based on how their breaking so I’ll be sure to get good waves every day.
Me: I’m sure no one will believe me but that is so cool. So what kind of board do you ride?
Santa (With a twinkle in his eye) Well, you can tell by the size and shape of me, I’m shaped like a gosh darned weeble, that it’s not some short high performance board that’s for sure. I ride an extra thick 9’8″ longboard shaped locally by someone who’s name I can’t divulge but who you know.
Me: So what about Mrs. Clause, does she surf too?
Santa: She sure does and I dare not admit it but she’s actually a lot better than me.
Me: That’s so cool. Hopefully some day we can all surf together.
Santa: I’d love to and this coming summer I’ll set it up.
Me: Awesome. By the way, do you have any regrets about your job?
Santa: No not really. To be honest it’s the best job in the world. My only regrets are the each year it seems like less and less people believe in miracles and that Christmas keeps becoming all the more commercialized.
Me: well hopefully once they’ve heard your story peoples minds and behaviors will change.
Me: Do you have any other words of advice or something you’d like people to know.
Santa: Al Gore is right about global warming. I have travelled this planet for almost one hundred and fifty years and I’ve witnessed the negative changes in our environment and they are frightening. We definitely need to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, look for alternative energy sources, cut down on our use of pesticides and chemicals and recycle before we destroy this wonderful planet.
Me: Those are great words of advice Santa. Hopefully one day we will all be riding sleighs pulled by reindeer like you.
Santa: Well I guess that’s one alternative. (he replied with a laugh so hearty the room shook before adding). So good luck getting the word out and I’ll see you in the surf this coming summer.
Me: Thanks for the interview Santa and I promise I’ll do my best with getting out the word and I’ll hold you to your promise to surf with me.
Santa then waved good-bye then with the twitch of his nose flew up the chimney and in a flash of light flew out of sight.
So whether the world believes me or not this is my story and I’m sticking to it.
Thanks for checking in and I’ll be posting my next story later in the week. In the interim, have a great week and keep up the faith.