The jolly old man who helps me get through Christmas

If my kids seem particularly well-behaved at this time of the year, it’s
Humour Columnbecause they think that a man with a white beard and red suit is keeping track of their behavior, all the way from the North Pole. Telling them that “Santa is watching” is a great way to get them to be nice to each other, far more effective than saying “God is watching.”

God may be all-powerful and all-knowing, but he doesn’t bring them toys on Christmas morning, not even a Jesus action figure.

All three of my kids, Lekha, 9, Divya, 7, and Rahul, 5, still believe in IMG_3134copy
Santa, still believe that the gifts they find under the tree on Christmas morning were placed there by the jolly old man. He travels to millions of homes around the world on a reindeer-drawn sleigh and –- here’s the real miracle –- manages to not get shot down by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

It helps, of course, that he’s a white man. If he were a brown man, he’d be spending the week after Christmas pulling bullets out of his butt.

Elf: “Santa, what happened? Did someone shoot you while you were sliding down their chimney?”

Santa: “No, they shot me while I was landing on their roof. Remind me never to deliver toys to anyone named Sasha and Malia.”

I would never think of shooting Santa, whatever race he happened to be.
Santa is a great help to me. My kids are much nicer in the weeks before
Christmas. And if they unwrap their gifts on Christmas morning and don’t
like what they’ve received, all I have to do is shrug and say, “Sorry,
kids. The old man messed up again!”

Santa doesn’t usually mess up, of course. That’s because the kids tell him
exactly what they want, either by writing him a letter or saying it aloud.

Rahul: “I want Santa to bring me a gun.”

Me: “Santa doesn’t believe in violence. I don’t think he’s going to bring
you a gun.”

Rahul: “Okay then, can Santa bring me a set of drums instead?”

Me: “Santa doesn’t believe in noise either.”

Rahul: “What does Santa believe in, Daddy?”

Me: “He believes in small toys that cost $10 or less.”

What Santa believes in isn’t quite as important as what my children
believe. And I’m dreading the day that they stop believing in him. They’ve
already started asking too many questions.

Lekha: “Daddy, where does Santa get all the toys from?”

Me: “His elves make them in the North Pole.”

Lekha: “Then how come this toy says ‘Made in CHINA’ on it?”

Me: “That’s not the country China, honey. That’s the acronym ‘CHINA.’ It
stands for ‘Creative Households in Northern Arctic.”

Then there’s the question about all the Santas who appear at the mall and
other places in December.

Divya: “Is that the real Santa, Daddy? Shouldn’t he be in the North Pole?”

Me: “No, honey, that’s an imposter. He’s just pretending to be Santa.”

Divya: “Oh, that explains it.”

Me: “Explains what?”

Divya: “Why he smells of beer. I don’t think the real Santa would drink
and glide.”

Then there’s the question about communicating with Santa.

Lekha: “Daddy, I don’t feel like writing a letter this year. Does Santa
have Twitter? Can I just tweet what I want for Christmas?”

Me: “Sure, honey, you can tweet Santa. But don’t be surprised, on
Christmas morning, if you feel a little mis-tweeted.”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Cool

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