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COLUMN: How do you do it, Santa?

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Santa Claus
General Delivery
North Pole

Dear Santa:
As Christmas approaches, I hope all is well with you and Mrs. C. Sorry I didn’t get to talk with you at the many parades you’ve taken part in over the past couple of weeks. I don’t see how you do it … getting to as many places as you do. I suppose magic reindeer are a big help.
Is there still snow at the North Pole? I’ve been reading all year about shrinking Arctic glaciers and melting polar ice, but I hope you’re holding your own at the top of the world. I’m afraid some day you’ll be living on a floating patch of ice in the middle of a melted Arctic Oc-ean. Maybe we’ll start treating our planet a little kinder than we have.
I’m not asking for anything for myself this year. There are too many other people in need and there’s not a lot I need that I don’t have … at least tangible things that might go under the tree or in a stocking.
I would ask for a healthy dose of the holiday season for myself and my family. This is the first Christmas since my dad passed away and I’m sure all of us will feel tinges of sadness in the days and weeks ahead. But that’s part of life, Santa. But if you can do anything to help cheer the thoughts of my loved ones and all those who find Christmas a melancholy time instead of the joyous season it should be, I’d be most appreciative.
If there’s any way of helping make people more generous, that would be just great, Santa. You seem to have a way of opening peoples’ hearts and wallets. Lots of people share their bounty, but others are still a little Scrooge-like. Is there a way of reminding them of how good it can feel to give to others?
There are other things that I’m afraid are even beyond your abilities. People are still warring over religion, politics and natural resources while millions go without food or shelter.
Dictators still hold power around the world, dimming the spirits of their people. They deserve a lot worse than coal in their stockings, but I shouldn’t harbor bad thoughts around the holidays. Sorry.
I’ll try to wait up but I’ll probably be snoozing long before you pass over my house. Should you need a place to gather your thoughts, the chapel I built for my mom and dad is fully done – finally – and you’re welcome to stop by. I’ll light a candle for you.
I’m not much into milk and cookies, but if you want a cup of hot cocoa or a few pieces of candy, help yourself. If you need something a little stouter in your mug, the liquor cabinet is all yours.
Some people say you aren’t real, but I still believe.
Happy travels!