He's making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town!
When North Wind blows his icy breath around my home, he will, depending upon his mood, tell stories about the Far North...and the following story is one he told me.
Santa is outrageously busy at this time of year. He can get overwhelmed and crabby, but he has learned much, much wisdom and guile over the Centuries. Still, he takes the time to balance and centre himself a whole lot.
He completely understands by now, after years and years of handing out toys to all the kids out there, that once he has finished that last house, he will have time for a rest.
And that another whole year will pass before he has to check that toy list again...twice.
Santa's Techie Elves all got together, recently, and gave him a laptop computer. When he figures out what he considers to be an odd gift, he has the tools to be very organized, right there on his lap! He could have files in his computer with every child's name on it. With every year categorized. But North Wind heard that Santa can become quite exasperated with his newest tool.
Many of his Techie Elves are quite sensitive to his moods; they help Santa when the computer becomes too difficult. And then... the Elves, after Santa's worked on it for awhile, urge him to go and find a cup of Herbal Tea and cookies.
After he's gone, grumbling and mumbling, the Elves fix his computer so that all the boys and girls, whose files have been all mixed up by Santa's ineptitude, will all be back in place, easily found. It took the Elves a very long time to convince Santa that the computer was the way to go, in this day and age, rather than that long list he carried around.
But North Wind tells me Santa's not so sure. That hard copy list of old never changed, was always easily read. He never had to worry about deleting the list, as sometimes happens with the computer. He never had to worry about the anxiety that suddenly appears...computer anxiety. But he does have the best Elf technicians anybody could ask for...and if it gets too tough, computer wise, he could just hand it over to them.
But Santa's stubborn and determined...he pushes out his lower lip, and pulls down his bushy eyebrows. When he does this, most Elves leave him alone.
Santa tells North Wind, who can be very empathetic when he wants to be, that he really doesn't have time to argue with those Elves these days, anyway. They want him to take his laptop in his sleigh, when he goes to deliver those toys to all the boys and girls who have waited a whole year. He gives North Wind an example, from a recent delivery, when he saved the day...
In his wisdom, he knew it might not be a good thing to rely on that computer. It is not always easy to contact online computer technicians, who always promise incomprehensible help, over Christmas. He has accepted his limitations...he can read a written list, but how does he find those lost files, once they seemingly disappear? No matter which button he pushes. Or clicks, he forgets the new terminology sometimes.
But Santa had a plan. He always does, shrugged North Wind, as he blew this story into my ear.
Santa took his written list on his journey around the World to deliver those toys, along with his laptop. He felt it was just too wearing to argue with those Elf technicians, so he pretended that he couldn't wait to take his laptop with him. But he hid his list in his back pocket, not even telling Mrs. Claus that he preferred the written list. She's so much better on the computer than he is, he didn't want her to know that he still preferred his list.
But as soon as he was out of sight of the North Pole, he tossed the laptop into the back of the sleigh, squared his shoulders and took a deep breath. He took his folded list out of his back pocket, and checked the first name. He was back in control.
After checking each name (twice!), directing his Reindeer, climbing on slippery roofs, getting stuck in tight chimneys, drinking gallons of milk and eating a million cookies, Santa got tired.
Sometimes...he told North Wind...he wishes that the boys and girls would leave some hot Chicken soup, with his cup of Herbal Tea. All those cookies are great, but sugar just doesn't sit well in his tummy anymore. Shrugging his shoulders, he reminds himself to be grateful. It would be a long night, indeed, without those sugary snacks to keep him going.
Finally, the last name is checked (twice!) and the Reindeer, with round tummies from all the apples and oats left outside for them, turned wearily home.
Just before he saw the lights of his compound in the North Pole, he pulled his laptop from under the empty Toy Bag, and quickly tried to make it look as if he had used it the whole night. Ding! ...went the computer...and up came the blue screen. With nothing on it. Oh oh.
Santa tossed the computer onto the back seat again, and congratulated himself on a job well done. He was extremely thankful for his wisdom in taking that long list of written names.
After Santa stumbles towards his home, his Elves unload the sleigh. They brush cookie crumbs and spots of milk off the upholstery of the sleigh seats. They scrub the seats, which are covered in soot from Santa's forays into chimneys. They take the Toy Bag away to be cleaned. And then, they find the laptop...
The Elves are puzzled. How did Santa ever manage to deliver all the toys, when the computer was frozen solid, when it wouldn't even boot up? They shrug their shoulders, telling themselves they shouldn't be too surprised...Santa's done this trip a million trillion times without a computer, and he's just done one more. Perhaps next year...
In the meantime, Santa had eaten the Chicken soup he had dreamt about all night, had his cup of Herbal Tea, and found the couch. Mrs. Claus placed one of the Elf babies on his belly...and they were
off to dreamland.
Santa mumbled, just before sleep overtook him...MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
North Wind heard Santa's words and he delivered them to his compatriots...East, West and South Wind...who swirled and twirled them around the World.
This post was published here a couple of years ago. I've edited some of it, in the interests of clarity...but the message holds true.