‘I haven’t heard any ho ho hos lately,” said Mrs. Claus to Santa as they were eating breakfast yesterday. 

The normally jolly old elf sighed, “It’s just not like it used to be. It used to be that an orange and a candy cane in a stocking hung by the chimney with care would make kids happy. Now 6-year-olds are sending me emails saying they want an iPhone 14. Now it’s Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Ball which I have to pay 60 bucks apiece for!”

When he could get them, that is. With supply chain problems and all the stuff being made in China with so many COVID lockdowns, Santa didn’t think he could give kids what they wanted. At least this year.

“Did you know,” Santa said to his wife after draining his coffee cup, “that Yiwu, a town in Zhejiang province in China, manufactures 60% of all the Christmas decorations in the world?!”

On top of that, he used to be able to fit all those stocking stuffers into his sleigh but now that children want so much stuff and the fact that the world’s population has increased from 2 billion to 8 billion in the last hundred years has meant he has to rely on FedEx and UPS to deliver a lot of the presents. A logistical nightmare.

And that’s upsetting to Mrs. Claus who is into being green. Reindeer pulling a sleigh don’t leave a carbon footprint, she argues, but all those delivery trucks do. What’s more, the wife is pushing her hubby to buy only fair trade items. Do you know how hard it is to get fairly traded Magic Mixies Magical Misting Crystal Balls?

And that’s if he can get into some areas. The eight reindeer — well nine if you count Rudolf — are refusing to fly over Ukraine or the Taiwan Straights for fear of being mistaken for an enemy aircraft and getting shot down by a missile.

And that’s only the shipping part of the problem. Santa has had trouble getting good help lately. Everybody, it seems, has had trouble getting help. How are you supposed to meet the Christmas Eve deadline if you don’t have enough workers?

To make matters worse, the elves are talking about unionizing. What happened is that they like to hang out at the Starbucks in Fairbanks, and the baristas there are all talking about striking if they don’t get better working conditions. Santa keeps arguing that their shop at the North Pole is a nonprofit organization, but it’s “all about me” for this new generation of elves.

And to add insult to injury, the basement of his workshop is flooding because of melting ice way up in the arctic due to global warming. There are no flooding remediation technicians working anywhere near the North Pole. 

Perhaps the most depressing thing for Santa, however, is that what he has to offer doesn’t heal the wounds or meet the needs of millions if not billions of people. Like the 80-year-old lady living in Forest Park who lost her husband in June and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t get into the Christmas spirit. In fact the holidays seem to amplify her hurting.

Like the mom and her three kids who are living at least temporarily in Poland and worry constantly about her husband/their dad who is fighting for his country in Ukraine.

Like for us who are scared to let kids walk to school alone for fear of gun violence and who keep worrying even when they’re in school. Santa is very aware that he doesn’t have the solution to gun violence. A gift card to Target just won’t carry the freight.

Like for children in Ethiopia, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan who are among the 3.1 million who will die from hunger this year.

Some turkey and some mistletoe can’t make the season bright for lots of people no matter how much champagne they drink, no matter how many presents are stacked up under the tree.

Santa had to laugh out loud in spite of himself.

“What?” asked his wife.

“That song ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ keeps going through my head,” he replied. “Up here we have a winter wonderland 365 days a year.”

Mrs. Claus, who has a good voice, smiled at her distraught hubby and sang,

Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’?

In the lane, snow is glistenin’

A beautiful sight

We’re happy tonight

Walkin’ in a winter wonderland.

That brought a smile to Santa’s face. He said, “You know, Sweetie, those who have it good in life don’t really need what I bring them to make their holidays happy, and for those who don’t have it good, what I bring them doesn’t really help that much.”