The real life of Santa Clause

Most people see Santa as a magical character living on the North Pole with all the magic in the world, a person who just shows up once a year to hand out presents. Well, I'm heading deep into the North Pole to find out the truth about Santa Clause. What I found is he doesn't have it so easy. In fact, he's just as human as any one of us is, maybe even more. See, he's experienced every situation life can throw at a person.

I first caught up with Santa at the beginning of the year wondering, "What the heck do you do all year until Christmas hits?" One would think he works on the presents for the next year… wrong. The elves take a nice one month vacation in a secret resort somewhere down south but they wouldn't tell me any details on its whereabouts. However, Santa mopes around the house suffering from depression. You wouldn't expect that from Santa, but when you really think hard about it, he has lived quite a long time. Living that long, you've seen a lot and experienced a lot and it comes as no surprise that you might develop a case of depression that far along. Just seeing such a sad face on someone you always think of being jolly just broke my heart. I tried to dig deeper and figure out what kinds of things were bothering him, but whenever I made an attempt he would merely walk away and avoid the conversation.

Moving on into the year, I got to see how Santa began planning his trip around the world every night. Since everyone is constantly moving and building new houses etc, he has to keep up-to-date on his route. But I was curious as to how he got through the entire planet all in one night. He wouldn't answer me right then and there, he merely stated, "that, my friend, is something you have to experience for yourself… and you will on Christmas Eve." I was able to get a quick glimpse of the map he was using, which to me looked like a complete and utter mess. He had so many lines in so many different colors drawn over that map I couldn't even follow one for more than a few centimeters. Yet, somehow, he was able to read it perfectly fine (I still think he just has stuff memorized). The elves, on the other hand, simply worked in the shop creating the common toys that are requested most often. This early on in the year, most kids wouldn't know what they wanted for Christmas yet and likely haven't even thought about it.

Most of the year continues along these same lines until around November when the requests start piling up. The common assumption here is that Santa actually reads them all, but he doesn't. The elves do (I didn't know that). Then they write them all down on the list for him. When it comes time to start fulfilling requests, then Santa actually checks through the list. One of the things I noticed was that no one was written down to receive coal. Now the entire idea of Santa was getting completely thrown off and I had to get to the bottom of it. When I asked him about kids receiving coal, he gave me quite a long reply that warmed my heart.

"You see, son, I don't actually like to give kids coal. To me, that is a heartbreaking moment that can damage a kid for life. Even the lowliest, meanest, and most misbehaved kids deserve to receive something every once in a while. Opening that one thing they asked for can change a person and I always believe that the best will eventually come of any person. The whole idea of receiving coal was merely created by the parents to help their kids behave and I support it 100%, but I could never actually give a kid a lump of coal."

By now the elves were hard at work and Santa was actually down in the workshop helping out. I would have expected him to be supervising from above on a balcony or down watching over progress, but he was actually down at a table with a hammer putting together toys like any of the other elves. He did it with such passion, like each hammer stroke was part of some master plan, perfectly centered on the target. He had that jolly grin that we've all come to known; this was his moment to shine, that time of the year that made him who he is. I could feel the magic building in the air, it was time.

The mood around the workshop on Christmas Eve was a mix of anxiety, dedication, and pride. All of their work throughout the year is about to pay off. What I was more interested in was delivering all the presents. For the first time I was actually able to see the reindeer as well. They were absolutely beautiful with their fur coats silky smooth and trimmed to perfection. These were no ordinary deer off the side of the road. These reindeer made regular deer look like ugly fish out of a pond. Santa's bag was stuffed full of presents, every single one for around the world into one bag. I couldn't believe it. If you thought a woman's purse was a bottomless pit that could fit anything, you've never seen Santa's bag! As the reindeer readied up, Santa went over his map one last time.

Taking off from the ground was phenomenal. You couldn't feel a thing like you would on an airplane, but yet not feeling anything made it seem all the more awkward. We were lifting off from the ground like we were hovering or something. We flew high up into the air and looking down at the ground with my fear of heights, nothing. It was like my feet were touching the ground the entire time but they weren't. I looked ahead at Santa with his jolly face in full swing, yet with that hint of dedication. The whole trip actually seemed a bit laid back; Santa was in no rush. Somehow when he was delivering presents, time seemed to be slowed down. It was like we were passing through an hour in a minute of real time. He gently walked along the roof and slid up and down the chimneys, somehow not even leaving tracks in the glistening snow. During one of the flights he explained to me, "you see, with how fast we're actually moving, I can get inside the house, drop the presents, and get back out before a kid could even realize I was there. Normally I would put them to sleep with my magic so they wouldn't be able to remember the presents randomly appearing under the tree, and that is why I have never once been spotted in a house." We continued gliding across the sky from one location to another until finally returning to the North Pole after what seemed to be a few days of night.

After feeling like we'd been out for so long, I didn't seem tired at all and the mood at the pole quickly changed to relief that the holiday was finally at an end (at least for them) and they could all relax once again. Their routine would start over as it has for the past who knows how many years. I walked around granting handshakes and high fives all around, wishing a farewell to all the elves. As I left the North Pole with my new knowledge and fascinating story, Santa spoke some last words: "You better watch out, you better not cry, and you better not pout." I wondered why. "Because Santa Clause is coming to town."

October 10, 2010