Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

December 15, 2013

Garret Leiva: Maybe Santa doesn't have it that easy

Santa Claus seems like an ideal job: summers off, free cookies and flying around the world without airport pat downs.

Santa’s work does require a suit, but no necktie. Holiday icons don’t punch a time clock either.

Kris Kringle is a perfect occupation except for one detail: Christmas. Come mid-December, Santa carries heavy bags – under his eyes.

Before the big guy can sit down to Thanksgiving dinner he’s already caught up in the pre-Christmas rush. Santa must dash away to marshal holiday parades and lead street-corner bell ringing. He even has to help break up Black Friday fisticuffs at the mall.

Santa’s early tree-lighting ceremonies quickly turn into a blizzard of public appearances that would drive a Kardashian into seclusion. The Big S must clone himself to make every breakfast-with-Santa fundraiser. He also endures freezing fire engine rides and photo-ops with ill-tempered reindeer.

Santa Claus is constantly coming to town – with nary a mileage reimbursement check. However, the real test of this saint’s patience is the never-ending line of people waiting to see him.

S.C. is subjected to hours of crying, whining and temper tantrums – and that’s just the parents. Thousands of children bend his ear – or scream in it – as they rattle off their list of Christmas demands.

The gift-seekers all line up; from surly preteens hung up on new iPhones to upset toddlers relieving their happy bladders on Santa’s lap.

Not only does St. Nick stomach this bad behavior, but his belly must shake like a gleeful bowl of jelly. Meanwhile, back at the North Pole, the Curly-Shoe Elf union threatens a walkout if the baby doll workshop is moved to Mexico. Santa’s one permissible four-letter response to all this holiday stress: Ho-ho.

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