By Tom Foster
Most people don’t know why the first Santa Claus really moved to the North Pole, and to be honest, I’m not sure many of them care. It’s all about gifts, all about so many different things any longer. Really, this holiday has kind of gotten out of control in my opinion. I’m not a miser, I’m not a Scrooge or anything like that, but when I see the belief that still exists in people, and the disbelief that stains other’s thoughts, I have to wonder sometimes if anyone really gets it any longer.
I’m not the first Santa to ever take on this position, after all the guys before me were just as fallible, they all had their shortcomings just like I do. One Santa, as I’ve heard, had a red nose for a different reason than just being jolly, but I won’t go into that. If a kid reads this and hears someone badmouthing Santa Claus then who knows what could happen? I’ll just leave it at this, he did his job no matter that he wasn’t the jolliest Santa to ever wear the coat. Others were flawed in their own ways, but like everyone before them, they got the job done as well. Me, well, I’m hoping that my term will go at least marginally as well. So far it’s not looking all that good.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a great position, possibly one of the best in the world! I get to supervise the making of toys that are both wholesome and educational, I get to take three months off after the season, and even better, my position is rent free! There’s no costs here at the North Pole, even our electricity is taken from a source that no power company could possibly detect. I know, I know, magic is a thing best left to fantasy tales and stories for little kids and the hopelessly nerdy, but it’s real.
I mean take this, how do you think I possibly get all the way around the world in one night? There’re armies of physicists and scientists who would argue that it can’t be done, that one person couldn’t possibly make it from Rochester, New York, to Los Angeles, California, in less than two days, let alone one night! But magic is something greater than any science fiction tale, it’s what makes all of what I do and what I am possible. It binds this entire place, and the power that makes Santa Claus, so that the whole shebang can exist. But like everything else, it’s fallible.
It sounds ridiculous to say something like magic has a failing, but it’s true. Even though it can do everything imaginable, it still has limits. For instance, it couldn’t stop people from realizing that the North Pole wasn’t just a frozen wasteland at the top of the world. Curiosity seems like a greater magic at times than anything that exists here, especially since it can come in just as many forms. To be honest I’ve found myself wondering if that’s a human trait, or just something that every living creature has within them when they’re born.
You know the elves that are so famed for being Santa’s helpers? They exist, in fact they’ve been on this world for longer than mankind truthfully as I’ve found out. They came up for the same reason I did eventually, the seclusion. Up here there’s little to no way that people can survive without a lot of aid and a lot of ingenuity, which, unfortunately some humans have in spades. The elves came from the world you all know about, they used to call it their home just like you do. But like happens with all beings when they’re different and in the minority, eventually the blank spaces of the map they could go to and call their own were taken over. They lived in peace for a long, long time before mankind came around, living up to the legends that our kind has about them. But like with so many things in the world, those who can take over usually do.
They came up to the North Pole as a last resort, taking their magic with them and finding a new home among the frozen wasteland, making it into their own. And even more than that, they did it without anyone knowing, till now at least. I’d actually like to take the blame for that, but they won’t let me. It’s not my fault they say, sooner or later people were bound to get curious, they were bound to start searching the unseen corners of the map and wonder just what was under all that ice. And wouldn’t you know it, they found out.
Humans aren’t content to leave well enough alone. They, or I should say we, since I’m still one of the race after all, like to believe that we can take things on faith, but in reality we have that burning need to know what’s going on in our world. We have to know how it works, or it doesn’t make sense. And what doesn’t make sense normally is an oddity. If it can be measured, we sure as all by golly try, but if it can’t then it’s too often deemed as something we can’t have around us.
When we’re kids, a lot of us are taught to believe in Santa Claus, we believe in the magic, we know it can do things that the world won’t let others do. But then we grow up, and we stop believing because of life experience, because of too many disappointments, times in our lives when we question everything we once believed in so easily. Sadly some kids have that taken away from them at an early age, no matter how wrong it is. And what happens then? A little piece of the overall magic dies, and the legends we were raised with start to die off.
As long as someone believes, they’re still able to survive. And the elves? They’re part of this world, no matter that people don’t believe in them. But me? If kids stop believing, if the adults give in to their own selfish thoughts, I’m history. The magic of being Santa Claus is a great thing, it’s like knowing that you can do anything, even if it’s just bringing a smile to a kid’s face because you’ve affirmed that they can find something to believe in. That alone makes my day.
But lately, it’s gotten harder.
Christmas, as you know, was begun without Santa Claus. It’s scandalous to think of this holiday without jolly old Saint Nick, but it’s true. If you read the bible and cling to Christianity, then you’ll know this holiday has more to do with baby Jesus than it does with me. Hey, I’m humble enough to admit this, I’m not the progenitor of Christmas after all, I’m just the guy who gets to promote it over and over every year. If you want the truth my title is only measured in centuries, while baby Jesus, his birthday, you know, this holiday and all, has been celebrated for millennia now.
The magic of Saint Nicholas, the man who was the origin of Santa Claus, was purely the magic of belief, one of the most intangible sources possible. He was so loved and revered that in his time spent on this world he managed to become the basis for a tradition that has to this day been kept and upheld. But I sometimes wonder what he’d think if he knew what had become of his name. The magic of the elves plays a large role in this of course, without their inherent abilities and talents the role of Santa Claus might have remained rooted in belief and faith more than actual magic. Those little dears, I love every one of them really, are a godsend sometimes. I mean it, you try and make all those toys and figure out a way to get them delivered! FedEx and UPS might be prompt and professional, but even they would have a hard time with my job!
But enough rambling, let me get to the heart of the matter since I’m sure you don’t want to hear me go on and on about the pressures of keeping so many children happy. The truth is, I’m getting old, and even the magic can’t help that. It’s a human condition, one that every Santa Claus has had to deal with, and one that, in all honesty, I still find appealing. We aren’t meant to stay here forever, even the elves will expire after a while, though of course their lives are measured in centuries and not decades like us. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live for almost a thousand years before fading off to your final resting place. Brrr, that gives me the chills just thinking about it. Anyway, once again I’ll cut to the chase, I’m getting up in years, I have no children, though it’s not for lack of my wife and I trying, ho ho and stuff.
Someone needs to take my place, and to be honest, I can think of no one in this world of the North Pole or back in the real world that humans like to find themselves grounded in that can fit the bill. That’s why I’m writing this, in hopes that someone will find it and believe. That’s all it takes you know, the belief that there is a North Pole, and not just an icy, barren wasteland, but a real place where joy and fun are still very much alive. An elf can’t be Santa Claus as I’ve learned over the years, or my bases would have been covered already. Their magic allows this place to continue, and it keeps me here until I find a replacement, but I feel like my time is already getting short. Mrs. Claus, bless and keep her, knows this too, but she’s being brave for both of us, always reminding me to keep my eye on what’s needed to get the holiday underway and this and that. She’s lovely, in fact she’s my greatest inspiration, and sometimes I’ve wondered if it’s me that’s prevented us from having children. Ah well though, that’s a lot of spilled milk, and around here that’s nothing to take lightly!
Back to my proposition, if you want to call it that. I need someone to be Santa, to take over the reins of my sleigh so to speak, and reader, if you believe, I’d like this to be you. It’s a great job, as long as you don’t mind working about nine months out of the year, can relocate with some ease at least, and don’t mind the fact that you will have to abide by certain rules. Of course you have to get married, of course you have to possess exceptional organizational skills and be a team player, but a lot of them comes with experience. So if this reaches the right person, and I hope it does since I’m making so many copies, I tell you that ten cents per copy adds up after awhile, then I really do hope that someone will take me up on the offer. If not, just think of what might happen to the holiday, and how many kids all over the world will be disappointed. If that doesn’t jerk a tear from your eye, then crumple this up and keep moving. But if you do believe in magic, and want a chance to be something great, then by all means, come step into my workshop.
Oh, and one last thing, you have to like animals, reindeer in particular.