Almost every year, I’m fortunate enough to meet new and wonderful people who become my friends to one degree or another. These past twelve months were no exception, so there are several new people in my life who may not have experienced Santa Paul in previous years. Even if you have experienced the magic of my unrelenting Cheer before, perhaps you’ve had some questions about what it is I do every December. I’ve been asked many of these questions (in my mind) several times (in my mind) by several people (in my mind). As a courtesy to all of those (imaginary) questioners, I’ve written this list of questions and answers. You may also find it enlightening.
1) Who are you?
A: Who I am for most of the year is no one of consequence, but during the month of December, I am Santa Paul. Santa Paul is a legendary creature possessed of fantastical yet very limited magical powers who delivers gifts and cards to dozens, sometimes over a hundred people around the world every Christmas. What? That’s what ‘limited’ implies.
2) What magical powers?
A: The ability to calculate the correct delivery time for cards and presents through postal services 99% of the time, a near invisibility when approaching homes to drop off cards and presents without being caught on Christmas Eve, the knowledge of just what items (within a budget) would suit the girls and boys on his nice list, the ability to smell like peppermint and chocolate, an invulnerability to cold, and the capability of causing snowfall should existing cold fronts allow. Limited. The word is LIMITED.
3) How did you know I would like this gift?
A: That’s one of the magical abilities I just listed. If you’re not going to read this, go away.
4) You don’t seem very Cheerful in that last answer.
A: That’s not a question and Christmas Eve has passed, so I’m back to normal. BITCHES!
5) Did the Christmas Card I got from you smell like chocolate/peppermint/snow/gingerbread/magic?
A: That’s more like it, back to the Q&A. Yes, I routinely include a scent of Christmas in the cards I write out. If you smell something that’s not Christmasy, that’s all on the postal service.
6) Why was there a piece of cardboard/graphing/other paper in the envelope with the Christmas Card you gave me?
A: It is there either to protect the front of the card during delivery, or to prevent you from seeing the design of the card through the envelope.
7) My friend/significant other/mortal enemy lives with me at the same address, so why didn’t you just combine our cards or presents into one package?
A: Though it might save me packaging and postage, one of the parts of Christmas I treasure is opening up things that are addressed to me. If I am friends with you and your significant other equally, I may combine your gifts or cards, but generally I like giving things to people separately so each person on my list can tear open what they got on their own.
8 ) Why didn’t you include my wife/husband/significant other/cat on the Christmas Card you gave me?
A: Probably because I don’t know them or like them well enough to include them. I don’t just give cards or gifts for show; if I give it, I mean it.
9) How can you put stuff under my tree if I don’t have a fireplace?
A: Aside from one peculiar incident two years ago, I generally don’t enter homes for fear of being persecuted by neighborhood watches or The Central Park Rangers. Do NOT piss off the Central Park Rangers. I generally leave cards and gifts right outside your front door, or I use the various commercial delivery services. If they break into your home, I bear no responsibility for it!
10) I didn’t do anything wrong this year, so why didn’t you send me a card or present?
A: First of all, part of checking my list (either the first or second time) includes me asking people where they’ll be on Christmas. Basically the only thing you have to do is tell me where you’ll be. If you don’t respond in time, you may not get anything from me. Check your facebook and twitter messages at Christmastime! Second of all, if I had the money and the time off, I’d probably get stuff for several hundred of you. Sadly I have neither and less than usual in 2010. If you were nice and I didn’t get to you, I’m just sorry. Please blame congress.
11) How long does your Christmas eve take you? How far do you travel?
A: This is different every year. Some years, it takes me as much as 14 hours from leaving home to returning. Sometimes several hours less. Some years, I travel almost 300 miles in one night. I usually rack up at least 150 miles, though. In 2010: ?
12) How much money do you spend on all this?
A: It’s all magic, but the monetary value is usually: more than I can afford, but less than a full paycheck.
13) How many people got stuff from you this year?
A: More than seventy-five, less than a hundred. And every year, I feel bad that I’ve left out people who I’d have been happy to include if only I could have.
14) Don’t you already have my address? Why did you need it again for Christmas?
A: Many people travel for Christmas. Sometimes they go on vacation, but usually they just return home from school or visit family for the holiday. I could send the card to your usual address and that might be what happens, but I find there’s something special in having something show up wherever you will be on Christmas morning.
15) I live a mile from you, why did you mail me my card/gift instead of delivering it on your Christmas Eve trip?
A: I try to map out a route that will allow me to get to the most people on my journey. Sometimes, you’re just too far off my route for me to make it. I can’t bend all of space and time, since I’m only a Santa Paul and not a Santa Claus.
16) What time do you get to each of your stops?
A: Well, now. That would be telling, wouldn’t it? All I can say is that some time between dusk and dawn is when I make all my stops.
17) What do you get out of all this? Should we leave stuff out for you? Is this just a scam to guilt people into giving you money or presents in return?
A: There’s obviously the tradition of leaving out milk and cookies (but I’m lactose intolerant so I’d prefer no milk, please), but that’s not why I’m doing this. In fact, if it’s any trouble to you at all, please don’t try to leave stuff out for me; only do it if it makes you happy. Because that’s what I get out of this. I get to bring a little childlike happiness and surprise to the people who’ve made me happy through the year. Again, I just wish I could do it for everyone.
Do you have more questions for Santa Paul? Leave them here and I’ll either answer them on Christmas or for next year’s F.A.Q. posting.
Merry Christmas, and to all a Good Night!