BY GARRET LEIVA
---- — 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.
Mr. Claus also worries about his own job security. His work is not threatened by corporate downsizing, government shutdowns or financial market collapses. Disbelief is the only thing that can land Santa in the unemployment line.
More difficult than squeezing down a chimney is the reality that you’ll eventually be outgrown.
With this in mind, I must make amends to Santa for my egregious behavior.
It was Christmas, 1977. I didn’t thank you for the Six Million Dollar Man with Bionic Grip doll – now probably worth more than my retirement portfolio. Instead, I turned up my 7-year-old nose.
So this year, you name the cookies: gingersnaps, snickerdoodles or chocolate chip and a big glass of milk. That is unless you’ve grown lactose intolerant over the years.
I realize being a holiday icon isn’t a cake job – around-the-world flying and free desserts aside.
While a magical sleigh is a nice job perk, I couldn’t handle being Santa. Summers off sounds great, but it’s hardly worth the Christmas holiday hypertension. Besides, the year-round elf singing would drive me nuts.
Reach Garret Leiva care of the Record-Eagle or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.