Dearest Saint Nicholas,
I know you may be surprised by the fact this letter is in the packing slip portion of a rather large box. Inside the box are the Christmas lists my children presented me, sans postage, to forward to you. Before you open the box, please take your nitroglycerin and have Mrs. Claus pour you a huge mug of hot cocoa while you read this preface.
Despite the hulking size of the lists, my children do know money does not grow on trees and your travel expenses are greater due to the rising prices of oil and food. All of them appreciate reindeer food is not a renewable energy source. I have explicitly explained, flow chart included, exactly how small this year’s budget really is. Those facts aside, I only forward the lists in their entirety to support my plea for alternative, budget-sensible gifts for my children, suggestions for which follow in no particular order.
1. Demonstrative Gratitude.
For the many things, tangible and intangible, my children have already received from all of the people in their lives, I wish you would bring them a healthy dose of demonstrative gratitude. I like to believe my children are grateful for what they get, but it would be fantastic to hear them actually tell our neighbor Thank you, when he moves his car so they can play basketball without breaking his expensive windshield, again.
2. Knowledge of the Value of Success.
With report cards covered in A’s, my children wish they belonged to our other neighbors who pay their children to perform in school. Could you deliver a flashlight which shines on the value of success? I don’t even think you would need to bring instructions since they are quite mechanically inclined. Not that I am pushing brands, but there is one which advertises its light shows success in academia, sports, relationships, part time jobs and leisure activities. The commercial is taped on TiVo if you need a copy.
3. Advanced Optic-Neurological Function.
The optic nerve is attached directly to the brain, but I fear my children all have the birth defect which garbles the information they see before it reaches their brains. Certainly, such a gift would clear the path for them to see the abundance they have now and the values of friendship and fellowship with our extended family. Fair to say, they would then be able to see how ridiculous the price tag on these lists is.
4. A Cure for Rectal Myopia.
As your naughty list will attest, one child has a terrible outlook, with which he continually tries to infect everyone he meets. His current want-du-jour is one of those insanely expensive game systems to replace the insanely expensive one he got last year and somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty $50 games for it. The absence of which beneath the tree, will certainly cause his belief everyone hates him to be irrevocably substantiated.
5. Compassionate Reciprocity.
In this season of giving, my children need to see the value of giving. Now, I know I should squelch the ideology “What’s in it for me?” But, Santa, I see the value in this limited instance. Could you give them an opportunity to feel the undeniable joy in giving to those who are less fortunate? You and I both know, most everyone they have met is less fortunate. Maybe you could send a three-day pass to a nursing home. They could see how being kind-hearted is the gift that keeps on giving.
At this point, Santa, I feel I need to end my list, lest you think my children come by this unabashed avarice by birth. Even if you don’t bring anything to them at all, I will provide for them a loving home and see to all of their genuine needs. As we agreed to do in the past, I will explain the concept of budget constraints in the face of the unionization of the elves and sign all of the gifts under the tree from you.
To illuminate our past success in presenting gifts without prices, you will find in the box a bag of home-grown carrots for the reindeer, a popsicle-stick framed portrait of you for Mrs. Claus and a pair of earmuffs for you, made by the toddlers. Please excuse the additional dog hair in all three. The puppies wanted to help them pack.
You have my credit card number and PIN should you decide to bring anything, and the gas station on the corner has promised to put your cappuccino on my tab. Bundle up and stay warm. And thank you for reading this first. Merry Christmas!