Mr. Claus’s Christmas Letter—2008

Mr. C. is incredibly busy right now with a last minute rush to finish all the toys, get the reindeer in shape for the long trip, make sure the sleigh is in proper repair and all. So he asked me if I would write our Christmas letter this year. Goodness knows I have my hands full making the fruitcakes and Christmas cookies, preparing the sweetmeats and candied fruits, but writing the Christmas letter is a welcome break. It is like having a nice chat over-the-backyard fence with all our friends at once.

Things went pretty well this year, all things considered. Our annual January vacation in Miami Beach was a delight. Mr. C mostly relaxed after the taxing Christmas Eve journey, lying in the sun and trying to get a suntan while I went shopping at some of those fancy boutiques. This year Mr. C bought one of those little bikini swim trunks which reveals some things I think I should be the only one to see, but Mr. C pointed out that a lot of other men were wearing them too. And he got me a lady's bikini to wear, but I'm not quite ready to try that.

The gay boys on the beach really cottoned to Mr. C. He was almost constantly surrounded by young men who said he was a "Daddy" type. Mr. C. loved the attention. One of the boys insisted that he wanted to come back north with us. So we let him, to see how he liked it. I put him to work in the kitchen helping with the cookies.

He turned out to have quite a knack for baking. He did all kinds of interesting things like adding a little nutmeg to this recipe, a little almond extract to that one, a quarter of a mashed banana here, a dash of ground cinnamon or a dollop of honey there. I'll have to confess that they certainly perked up the flavor of some of my old recipes. I asked him how he knew all this. It turned out his father had been a baker in some South American country, so he came by it naturally.

We had hoped to have a more relaxed pace of production during the spring, but as the signals started coming in about the economic downturn around the world, it became clear that parents weren't going to be able to buy all the toys they normally do, and we would have to make up the difference.

We tried bringing in a dozen or so "guest worker" elves from Germany, where most of them seem to live, but once they got here all they did was complain about the cold weather and the lack of that dark beer they drink all the time. "When does spring arrive," they kept asking, and Mr. C kept explaining, "It doesn't!" So finally we had to send them back and resolved to do it ourselves.

Along about August, some of the elves became interested in the battle down in the United States over gay marriage, particularly the campaign in California. The elves' gay caucus said they wanted to be able to marry too. So they called a big meeting to petition Mr. C. to institute gay marriage.

"But you're all men, er, male," said Mr. C. "And formal marriage has always been just for opposite sex partners-men and women. So I don't see how you can officially get married." "But why are we limited by tradition?" the spokes-elf asked "Well," Mr. C. replied, "marriage is essentially about reproduction-the fact that men and women have children. You all don't have children."

The spokes-elf didn't say a word. He just stared very hard at Mr. C. Then he looked over at me, then back at Mr. C. It was so quiet in the meeting hall you could hear a pin drop. I could hear the wheels turning in Mr. C's head. Finally he said quietly, "Oh." Then he held out his hand to me and I walked over and took it in mine. "Well," Mr. C. said, "I guess if Mrs. C and I are good enough for marriage, you all are too. Let's do it."

There was a big cheer from the assembled elves and I'll confess that I had a tear in my eye. Mr. C is sometimes a little slow on these social issues-his life is so wrapped up in toys-but he almost always comes to the right position eventually. The elves picked him up and carried him around on their little shoulders. And so another crisis was averted.

Well, the rest of the year went smoothly, if rather busily. And so I close, wishing you and yours a merry Christmas and the best from all of us.

Mr. and Mrs. S. Claus

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