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Opinion: A Christmas guest has much to say

Two men dressed as Santa Claus ride a jet ski on the Mediterranean sea at Villeneuve Loubet, near Nice, southeastern France. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Two men dressed as Santa Claus ride a jet ski on the Mediterranean sea at Villeneuve Loubet, near Nice, southeastern France. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

SCOTT SIMON: We all start work on this show when it's still dark, and this Christmas morning I looked into the sky. I saw a trail, and heard a clatter of hooves, and a string of ho-ho-ho's. That sleigh in the sky should be approaching the west coast now. So I figured, why not try this number I have?


SANTA: Hello? Yes, whaddya want?


SANTA: Just fill out the Customer Satisfaction form on my website, will ya? How did you get this number anyway?

SCOTT SIMON: Oh, it's all over TikTok.

SANTA: Great. Just what I need. Parents crying about how to put toys together, and kids calling with complaints—


SANTA: Who is this?

SCOTT SIMON: My name is Scott. I work for NPR.

SANTA: Every other person on NPR these days seems to be named Scott! Anyway, I gave already! And I'm still waiting for my Nina Totin' Bag!

SCOTT SIMON: That's a different department. Can I ask you a few questions?

SANTA: You've got all year to call me, and now you call when me and the reindeer are over the 405 in LA! That is sooo NPR.

SCOTT SIMON: I'm sorry. I didn't-

SANTA: Holy Blitzen, that was a close one!

SCOTT SIMON: Santa, I'm-

SANTA: That was some kid's drone back there. Go on, go on, ask your questions.

SCOTT SIMON: Uh, well, tough year?

SANTA: What do you think? I've got supply chain problems. Krampus is hacking my system, and I've got competitors who are cobbling with robot-elves. Comet and Cupid are out tonight, because they're delivering pizza for Grub-Hub. How can I compete with that?

SCOTT SIMON: Folks still leave out cookies and cocoa for you?

SANTA: A lot of wisenheimers now leave out tofu and vitamin-water. With a note: "This is better for you, Santa." Sheesh.

SCOTT SIMON: What do people want from you this year?

SANTA: Kids just want to play. After all that's happened, kids just want to play. Adults? They ask for more. They say, "Oh, Santa, make my football team better. Then stop pandemics, and give us world peace." What do you want? Nobody calls me unless they want something.

SCOTT SIMON: I guess I just want all children--all of our children, everywhere--to be happy. To smile, laugh, be healthy, and safe. Happy.

SANTA: Well, that's something everyone can do something about. I'll do my part, you do yours. Scott. Okay?

SCOTT SIMON: Okay. And, uh, could I please also have a bottle of that Nina Toten-blend wine I've heard so much about?

SANTA Sorry. That's not my department.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.