Friday, December 18, 2009

The Best Santa Letter Ever

It's an open secret that I, erm, help Santa with his e-mail each year. That is, children (or adults) can submit a note to Santa using the form on the Santa's Village website, and Santa will send them back an e-mail.

This is, for the most part, a simple task. Santa has been answering letters for quite a long time, so he has a ready-made selection of common responses and general well-wishes. It becomes trickier, and more time consuming, when someone includes a question that requires a more specific response. Santa doesn't ignore those questions; that might lead someone to think he isn't real. On the other hand, Santa never tells whether someone is going to get a specific item or not; that might spoil the surprise.

Then, of course, there are... let's call them "technical difficulties". Santa receives e-mails from people who mistype their e-mail addresses, misspell their own names (or the names of their children), and generally make it more difficult it should be to figure out whether they've been Naughty or Nice. The average response time for Santa's e-mails would probably improve by 20% if people would just use capital letters when they type in their names.

Every once in a while, though, Santa gets a letter for which the typical Christmas responses are just... inadequate. I'm not talking a slightly off-beat Christmas request, like a new Ferrari or Alan Rickman (though Santa has, in fact, gotten requests for both of those). These are e-mails that take the whole purpose of Santa Letters, thumb their noses at it, and head boldly off in some other direction. This one - my absolute favorite example of the genre - dates from 2005, so I don't see any reason not to reproduce here. And so, without further ado:

From: M[redacted]
To: Santa Clause
Subject: Free the reindeer

Please free the reindeer, and use a motorized sled instead. Also, go on a diet. It's better for your health.

Clearly, this could not go unanswered. Just as clearly, this was not a child who would be satisfied by bland reassurance that she had been good this year, and that Santa was coming soon. Another sort of response was required.

From: Santa Claus
To: M[redacted]
Subject: M's Letter to Santa

Dear M,
Hello from everyone at the North Pole! Let me clear up a few things you may not understand. All employment at the North Pole is voluntary. Both Elves and Reindeer enjoy generous salaries, a comprehensive insurance program, and a lavish 401k program. Your concern is appreciated, but this is a family operation – not a sweatshop.

Naturally, I have no wish to contribute to the unemployment rate of magical flying reindeer. Personal considerations aside, the Reindeer are quieter and much more environmentally friendly than a mechanical sled would be. And, of course, they can get me all the way around the world in a single night, which would be impossible using a motorized sled.

Your concern for my health is also appreciated, but the extra weight helps me keep warm.

We all enjoy making your Christmas Special. Now take good care and get to bed early on Christmas Eve, and before you know it I'll be visiting you!

Lots of love from
Santa Claus

Sometime it's worth taking the extra time to do something right. Santa got a nice little thank-you note back from the child's father, too.

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