Will Santa Claus Make His Rounds This Year, Or Will The Job Fall To Me?

A few nights ago my cell phone began to ring 10 minutes after my wife Sandy and I lit the menorah candles on the eighth and final night of Chanukah. A secular Jew, I’m about as unreligious as they come, but I’m okay with Chanukah candle-lighting. When aglow, those slender wax sticks look so sweet and peaceful, they come pretty close to making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or something or other on that order.

The caller’s name didn’t appear on my phone’s screen, and the displayed phone number didn’t register with me at all. But being in a relaxed and welcoming mood after watching the candles burn down for a while, I did what I ordinarily wouldn’t have done. In other words, I answered the phone.

I opened my mouth to talk, but the caller beat me to it. “Neil! I’ve lost my way! I have enormous doubts about my purpose in life, about my abilities to continue doing my good work, about whether the world really needs me, about . . . ”

I cut him off. “My man, calm down! I hear you. But I haven’t a clue who I’m talking to. Who the f*ck is this?” I yelled.

“Neil, it’s Santa Claus. You gave me your number two years ago, remember? I’d have shown up in person, but I’m too down in the dumps to even open my front door and go for a walk. Anyway, a phone call is a lot easier than flying thousands of miles in a sleigh to get to your house. Bottom line is that my wife’s not here to help me, and I couldn’t think of a better person to speak with than you.”

“Thank you, Santa. I’m humbled,” I said. “But where’s your wife?”

“Neil, don’t get me started on Mrs. Claus. She’s gotten so fed up with my moods and angst, she’s threatening to file for divorce. And she split a week ago. Last I heard she was flaunting her fine Nordic bod on Ipanema Beach, in Rio. Yeah, she enrolled in Weight Watchers last year and the program worked. She used to be on the plump side, to put it charitably, but now the girl is smokin’ hot! Who could blame her if she never comes home to the frigid North Pole?”

“Santa, oh Santa,” I said, “I’m so sorry. She’ll come back, though. I mean, there’s no better catch than you. Just give her time. What can I do to help?”

“Neil, my problems are so deep rooted, a plumber couldn’t flush them out. I appreciated the help you gave me two years ago [click here to read all about it], and as you know you weren’t the first to keep me focused on my daunting job. But, brother, this time I think I’ve had it. I suppose I’m having an existential crisis. Neil, I don’t see how I can do my toy deliveries anymore. Someone else might have to take over. I’ve done it long enough.”

“Santa, please reconsider. There’s no one who can replace you.”

“Well, then the world would have to adjust. I really need to start thinking about myself at this point. Maybe Judaism holds the answers for me. Should I convert, move to Miami Beach and start wearing that little skull cap . . . what do you call that thing, Neil?”

“It’s a yarmulke, Santa.”

“Yes! I’d look good in one of those, don’t you think? They’re usually in black, right? Black would match my belt, and I’d be happy to ditch my silly hat with the pom-pom on the end.”

“But, Santa, why the heck would you want to convert to Judaism? The Christian world relies on you. You’re one of its bedrocks. Santa, you’re an icon, someone who should have been awarded a Nobel Prize decades ago, maybe in best costume design. Oh wait, it’s the Oscars that do costume design. Well, shit, then you should have been awarded an Oscar!”

“Thank you, Neil. Thank you. You know, an Oscar would look grand sitting above my fireplace. Which reminds me, I’ve got to throw another log on the fire. I’m freezing my ass off. Be back in a minute.”

A minute passed, and then, true to his word, Santa was back.

“That’s better,” he said. “It’s starting to feel nice and toasty again inside this icebox that I call my house. I tell you, whoever they were that decided to start inhabiting these far northern regions ages ago were out of their freakin’ minds!”

“Neil,” Santa then continued, “I’m uncomfortable bringing this up. It’s a favor of the highest magnitude: If I decide to bail out from my job this month, is there a chance you might fill in for me? I know that Christmas isn’t your holiday, but who else can I ask? I barely know anybody, living up here in no-man’s land. Keith Richards sat on the sleigh with me last year [click here to read about it], but he wasn’t much help, to tell you the truth. He spent half the time strumming an air guitar, so there’s no way I’d ask him to carry the load all by himself. Neil, a large segment of humanity might have to count on you!”

Stunned, I didn’t answer right away. Finally, I spoke. “Listen,” I said, “I want no part of this. I’ve got hemorrhoids, Santa! Raging, powerful hemorrhoids. Endless hours of sitting in your sleigh might be the end of me. But I’ll do it if I have to! I’m that kind of guy!

“You’re the best, Neil. The best! Well, actually I don’t know you very well, so there’s a good chance I’m wrong about that. In any event, you have my thanks.”

“But here’s the thing, Santa,” I said. “I’m going to go outside in a few minutes. And I’m going to walk around my neighborhood, taking pictures of the pretty Christmas lights that lots of people have put up outside their houses. Then I’m going to write a story about our conversation. And I’ll add a few of the Christmas lights photos to the article. Read that story, Santa. And look at the photos! The lights in my neighborhood got you back on track in 2016, and I’ve got a strong feeling that they will turn you into your jolly ol’ self again this year. And if they do, there will be plenty of time left for you to pull everything together and make your Christmas deliveries. Okay, Santa? Do we have a deal?”

“Deal, Neil.”

“Goodbye, Santa. I’m ready to do my duty, if need be, but not as ready as you had better be a few days from now. Man up, Santa. Man up!”

(As I always say, please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this article. Thanks.)

(If you click on a photo, a larger image will open in a separate window.)

107 thoughts on “Will Santa Claus Make His Rounds This Year, Or Will The Job Fall To Me?

  1. cindy knoke December 14, 2018 / 12:28 am

    I think it is a lucky thing your name rhymes with deal……

    Liked by 4 people

  2. cindy knoke December 14, 2018 / 12:35 am

    Personally, I think Santa is kinda a capricious asshole.
    He visits families, lots of them apparently, but never mine,
    I have been leaving cookies and milk for him for decades.
    I have to buy and wrap all his presents, con someone to dress up like him, keep saying, “Santa was here!” Super excited, like he ever was.
    I am mostly nice, not very naughty. I write my list and check it twice.
    So my question is, “Where the hell is Santa?”
    I want his job. It will be easier than mine.
    Your post cracked me up.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:13 am

      Cindy, I’m going to forward your comments to Santa. Maybe he will pay attention to your concerns!


  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross December 14, 2018 / 12:44 am

    Hahaha. 🙂 Great post. I agree with Cindy – Santa IS kinda a capricious asshole. I would love his job too. Great benefits plan. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The Arcane Nibbler December 14, 2018 / 2:44 am

    You know Santa personally? Some guys have all the luck. I can’t even get an elf to make eye contact. They just walk by and pretend they’re on their cell phones to avoid acknowledging me, the little pointy-eared pricks. Happy Holidays, Neil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:18 am

      I really like your phrase “pointy-eared pricks.” I might use it some day in one of my blog pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. selizabryangmailcom December 14, 2018 / 3:37 am

    Disturbing thought number 1: Santa with hemorrhoids.
    Disturbing thought number 2: Keith Richards on Santa’s sleigh.
    (Remember when Keith supposedly fell out of a *tree* a few years back onto his head? NOW I know what he really fell out of!)
    That was great. Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:19 am

      Hi Stacey. Keith is good in the Stones, but not so good on Santa’s sleigh.


  6. Sheree December 14, 2018 / 3:53 am

    You know what Neil, there are worse jobs to cover and it’s only for one night, plus think of all the goodies that will be left out to keep you going. Oh, wait a minute, thanks to that #ReindeerReady advert, it might only be carrots….you like carrots?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:22 am

      I am not the world’s biggest fan of carrots. I’m pretty sure that Santa will do his duty this year, so hopefully I will not be subjected to carrots!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Paddy Tobin December 14, 2018 / 4:13 am

    Santa has always visited our house earlier than others – on the evening before Christmas Day. This had the enormous, and deeply appreciated, benefit of obviating the necessity for the children waking an unearthly and deeply unchristian hours of the morning. He’s a thoughtful man. He’ll turn up again this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cristina Crawford December 14, 2018 / 7:06 am

    What a terrific read first thing in the morning! Love to start the day humor! Personally, I am not in the “Santa is a capricious asshole” camp; it’s his elves who are mighty creepy. This may be the last year my nephew “believes” so I’ve been doing sommersaults to keep the joy and wonder alive this past few weeks. Still, I just may tell him that Santa has been having a personal crisis of sorts on the homefront with Mrs’ Claus and all and he was considering a vacation to warmer climes. After all, gotta keep it real (well, except for hemorrhoids…can’t go there yet with him!). Peace, love, joy and all things wonderful to you and yours! 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:30 am

      Hi Cristina. Santa’s human (I think). He’s been having self-doubts for quite a few years. I wonder if he ever will totally get over them.


  9. joyce hamilton December 14, 2018 / 7:50 am

    Funny! Great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:32 am

      Gracias, Joyce. All those pictures are from within a few blocks of where you and I live.


  10. Robert Parker December 14, 2018 / 9:05 am

    🙂 haha! A fun piece, and you’re a real shtarker, drop a snowball on the seat, it will hep with all those hours of driving, filling those stockings with chocolate gelt & latkes. I’m thinking you haven’t operated a flying sleigh, since that Grateful Dead concert in the ’70’s, but should you have any close encounters with a chimney or skyscraper, the good news is, reindeer meatballs are kosher.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Debra December 14, 2018 / 9:18 am

    Roses are reddish
    Violets are bluish
    If it wasn’t for Jesus
    We’d all be Jewish.

    Geez, we gave them Jesus, Mary, & Joseph; wrote White Christmas; and started Macy’s. You assisting Santa? That’s asking too much. Oy to the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Debra, I’m betting that Santa will pull himself together and get on his sleigh once again. If not, I’ll fill in for him, but RELUCTANTLY.


  12. Laurie Graves December 14, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Tee-hee! Keep us posted. Hope for your sake that those pretty lights get Santa back in his groove.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Almost Iowa December 14, 2018 / 9:47 am

    Why not let Jeff Bezos have a go at it? He’s got the cash, the resources and the distribution network. He’s even paying minimum wage which is more than the elves get.

    BTW, a yarmulke would look good on the old boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 10:10 am

      I like the way you think. I’m going to put Santa in touch with Jeff. That might be the start of a beautiful friendship.


  14. sniderjerry December 14, 2018 / 10:27 am

    Hi Neil, I didn’t believe in Santa Claus for a long time but the Easter Bunny convinced me he really exists. Happy Holidays. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  15. eden baylee December 14, 2018 / 11:30 am

    We have a street in Toronto called Inglewood, but this time of year, it’s renamed Kringlewood. All the residents erect 14′ blow up Santas on their lawns. It’s quite the sight to see, and this year there are more than 40 of them. Santa is alive and well here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 14, 2018 / 12:10 pm

      Did you do a blog piece about that a few years ago? I think I recall it. Or maybe I read about Kringlewood somewhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. JT Twissel December 14, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    We all knew Santa would have an existential crisis at some point! We’ll leave a shot of bourbon out for you. Bourbon and rumballs!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. theresagreen December 14, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    You did say you might like to visit Wales sometime, if you take the job let us know what time you’ll be here and we’ll wait up for you.Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ann Coleman December 14, 2018 / 3:11 pm

    Now I’m going to be waiting to see if your photos worked, or if you’re going to be helping Santa this year, despite it being a bit of a “pain in the rear.” Great post, Neil! This gave me my first laugh of the day, and trust me, I needed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter December 14, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    I just learned today that reindeer are colour blind. Something to bear in mind if you have to take over sleigh duties and you come to a red light.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Marie Rogers December 14, 2018 / 6:43 pm

    Those Christmas lights worked for me. They got me out of the “Bah, humbug!” mood. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 15, 2018 / 7:21 am

      Hey there, Marie. The bright lights that go up all over much of the world this time of year are therapeutic. Have a great weekend, and many thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Gallivanta December 15, 2018 / 7:17 am

    Good to know that Santa has friended you. I think he will be fine. He just needed someone to talk to. I am surprised though that he didn’t Skype or Messenger you. But I guess since he still uses a sleigh he’s not very high tech, yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 15, 2018 / 8:35 am

      True, but what he’s able to do with his modest sleigh is very amazing.
      Enjoy the weekend. Take care —

      Liked by 1 person

  22. andrewcferguson December 15, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    I may be overthinking this, but I feel Santa should think crowdsourcing? Maybe 100 delegates, all doing a particular region? Although the one covering Scotland would need a strong stomach: we tend to leave out whisky for him! If you have to step into the breach, Neil, I’m sure you’ll be fine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 15, 2018 / 1:31 pm

      You have a fine idea. Santa needs to rethink how his job should be handled. Times have changed!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Carol Balawyder December 15, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Wow! Your neighbourhood seriously decorates! Poor Santa. It must be a tough and lonely job. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. tylerus December 15, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    My goodness – I don’t know which I enjoyed more: the post or the comments! You, my friend, need to write a full-length book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 15, 2018 / 3:28 pm

      I have enough trouble turning out my essays. A book is beyond me!


  25. alhenry December 15, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    When I was 8, and several years into not-quite-really-believing-in-Santa-but-wanting-to, I had a dream where I was skating, and suddenly Santa, too, was skating on the same frozen river. He smiled at me with his jolly Currier & Ives smile and waved good-bye as he skated into the distant mist. I woke up sobbing. I knew I would never have Santa again. So….

    What an amazing joy to find him alive and kicking, and visiting you with outrageous requests.

    You don’t have to believe in any religion to believe in Santa. You just have to celebrate the joy and mystery of the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 15, 2018 / 9:37 pm

      I’d say that your dream has the makings of a children’s’ book. Pretty remarkable that you remember a dream from childhood.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Alyson December 15, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Great light displays in your neck of the woods and a great festive story too. Cross fingers Santa finds his mojo again and you’re off the hook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 15, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      We drove around the streets of our town tonight for 45 minutes, looking at Christmas lights. Saw quite a few good displays. We probably will do the same in other towns over the next few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson December 16, 2018 / 3:57 am

        You definitely do lights in a big way in the US. Just a few subtle window displays around us I’m afraid but the centre of town is quite snazzy!

        Liked by 1 person

  27. America On Coffee December 15, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    You are swaying with boldness. Roll rounds of goodness where it is lacking. Cheers again to your imagination, the season into a blessed new year Neil!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Isabelle December 16, 2018 / 10:29 am

    This was a hilarious read Neil! Those Christmas-decorated houses and gardens are incredible! True Christmas spirit. Have a great week! Isabelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 16, 2018 / 11:41 am

      Hey there, Isabelle. As always, many thanks for stopping by. All the best to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. theburningheart December 16, 2018 / 11:14 am

    Hilarious! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Christy B December 16, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    Santa needs a double shot – stat!! I hope he calls me soon and tells me he and Mrs. Clause are back together and happy again 🙂 Seriously this post is awesome, Neil! Sharing over on Facebook today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 16, 2018 / 9:46 pm

      Rosaliene, to tell you the truth I hope I don’t hear again from Santa for a good, long while.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Fran Johns December 16, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    That’s the most fun of the day. Since my children are now in their 50s, I have long since abdicated Santa to them. However. Some friends from Central America once visited on January 6, read my kids the story of the Three Kings (somewhere in the Bible; happily not in the Torah,) scattered straw on the floor (camels) after they went to sleep and left presents under their beds. After which I said to my husband, “Can we just stick with Santa?” Nobody reminded my kids about Three Kings Day in the ensuing years. Let’s stick with the candles — Advent, Menorah, lamps on the Ganges,whatever. Maybe we can even inch this country back to the Statue of Liberty’s torch.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. cath December 17, 2018 / 3:07 pm

    A hot line from Santa rather than to him? That’s good. I’m glad he’s got someone there for him. It must get more difficult by the year to do his job.

    Sounds like you deserve a glass of sherry and a mince pie or two, as well. Hope you’ve also got a warm fire to toast by. Love the photos, very festive. Hope you and yours have a lovely Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 17, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      Santa hasn’t called me again (yet), so it looks like probably I’m off the hook. All the best to you and yours, Cath.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. angelamcclintock December 18, 2018 / 7:28 am

    Delightful! Very imaginative. Was not looking forward to a long day of meetings! Thanks for the smile.
    Oh, and when you pass my house, drop off Mrs. Claus WW plan!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Steve Higgins December 18, 2018 / 9:45 pm

    holy smoke, you had me worried there for a while Neil. Glad you sorted old Santa out!
    all the best, Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 18, 2018 / 10:55 pm

      Well, I still haven’t heard from him in re whether he’ll be driving his sleigh, but at this point I’m assuming that he will!


  35. restlessjo December 19, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    Thank you so much for the smiles this evening, Neil. First I watched the video, then I read this. Isn’t life so much better for blogging? 🙂 🙂 Jingle those sleigh bells!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 19, 2018 / 5:03 pm

      Hi Jo. Yeah, the McCartney visit to Liverpool is a lot of fun. I think he hadn’t been to Liverpool in years. Glad you enjoyed my Santa story. Take care —

      Liked by 1 person

  36. annika December 20, 2018 / 11:40 am

    Haha… what a fun read and funniest comments ever that followed. This is the first Christmas that all three kids are past the Santa myth and I can’t say I’m sad about it! Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. cincinnatibabyhead December 20, 2018 / 1:32 pm

    CB’s a bit of a heathen (according to my aunt) but I’d be happy to help out if you need someone to hump the goods. I’ll make a BIG thermos of hot buttered rums. Let me know. ( I like Mrs Claus’s attitude)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 20, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      CB, your offer is much appreciated. At this point though, luckily, it looks like Santa has taken my advice to man-up. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. smilecalm December 22, 2018 / 2:07 pm

    along with a charlie brown christmas
    this is an instant classic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Dave Astor December 23, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    Terrific story and dialogue, Neil!


  40. crowcityblog December 23, 2018 / 10:48 pm

    Nothing funnier or harder to spell than hemoroids. I never have time for fiction writing, but what if Santa shaved his beard off and went into hiding like Whitey Bulger? Sounds like a case for Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 23, 2018 / 11:14 pm

      Hey there. Keith would be too busy with the Stones. You’d have to handle it!


  41. jeanleesworld December 26, 2018 / 6:50 am

    Hee hee! Thanks for the smile. At least Santa didn’t accidentally die on your roof by slipping on ice or something. Lovely lights about the town! Our town seems to be inhabited by Scrooges this year…that, or the Grinch has been through… 😦 Anyway, A Happy New Year to you! xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 26, 2018 / 8:57 am

      Hard to believe, but a new year begins in less than a week. Here’s to a good one! See ya —

      Liked by 1 person

  42. greenpete58 December 27, 2018 / 9:05 am

    Neil, I’m a secular non-Jew who also has hemorrhoids. Belated Happy Festivus to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

      • greenpete58 December 27, 2018 / 10:34 am

        Holy tinsel, I always thought it originated with Seinfeld. It’s one of my favorite episodes. Jerry Stiller is gut-wrenchingly funny. The Feats of Strength scene floored me!

        Liked by 1 person

  43. Silver Screenings December 27, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    I early spewed my glass of water all over my laptop screen when you told Santa to “man up”. Really terrific post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 27, 2018 / 10:18 pm

      Hi, and thanks.
      Two nights ago I saw an old episode of Family Guy on the tube. It was a Christmas story about a search for Santa Claus. Two of the characters (Stewie and Brian) end up trying to do Santa’s deliveries for him. Their efforts go very awry. Family Guy is a wild and wooly and shameless series. It’s hilarious.


  44. Julie Holmes, author January 5, 2019 / 2:55 pm

    Great light pics–my favorite part of Christmas is the lights. And a couple songs. And pretty snow–but not the stuff you have to drive through, the stuff you get to look at from a warm cozy living room.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 5, 2019 / 8:56 pm

      We haven’t had any snow yet this winter in my region (the Philadelphia area). Can’t say I miss it! Thanks for stopping by, Julie. See ya —

      Liked by 1 person

  45. viewfromoverthehill January 9, 2019 / 12:22 pm

    You’re hilarious Neil: You’re right about the menorah. It IS beautiful. Years ago, my daughter’s school chum spent holiday time with us. Gina was Catholic, her mom had treasured old tree ornaments. They lived in a beautiful old home, perfect for Xmas. How could we compete?
    To my surprise, when each child was given a small menorah to light each night, Gina sighed and exclaimed: “I wish I were Jewish.”
    Interesting, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 9, 2019 / 3:15 pm

      Well, I think it’s because of the simplicity of the menorah and its candles. They are captivating.


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