An open letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa Claus,


Since the many letters I sent you as a child bearing the address of “Santa’s workshop” in “The North Pole” went unanswered, my hope is that a public message will catch your attention.

First off, thank you for all you do to make Christmas beautiful. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning hoping to catch a glimpse of your plump body defying the laws of physics to squeeze down their chimneys has brought excitement to countless children. Everyone should be grateful for your tireless non-profit work—children for the presents found under their trees, and parents for the respite they enjoy while their offspring work hard to earn a spot on your “nice” list. Sadly, your work goes mostly unthought of for 11 months of the year as you toil in the North pole to make us happy on one morning every December.

Mrs. Claus also deserves a shout out for her contribution to your annual escapade around the globe. In addition to sewing you larger and larger outfits through the years, she embellishes each gift with her elegant handwriting designating which child will receive it. I know this is your wife’s work and not yours because I observed as a child that the tags on my gifts had a distinctly feminine touch, much like my mother’s. An unsung hero of Christmas, your wife should know that she is appreciated.

Your weight, unfortunately, needs to be discussed. In the early days, it was a charming feature, but as obesity has risen to dangerous levels around the planet, words like “jolly” and “plump” are now associated with “type 2 diabetes” and “heart disease.” I understand that we are part of the problem. Encountering a plate of fresh cookies in every house you enter must be a strong temptation. Nonetheless, I implore you to shed some pounds. Don’t just do it for yourself—do it for your reindeer.

I applaud you for remaining committed to green living, even as the world has upgraded to gas-guzzling weapons of environmental destruction. Aside from some natural methane production, reindeer are a clean energy source bringing little to no harm to our planet. Congratulations on maintaining a small carbon footprint. You are a glimmering example to us all.

Unfortunately, I feel duty bound to point out blatant injustices in your “naughty or nice” policy. I’ve known too many people who deserved to find themselves buried in coal, but come Christmas morning somehow received an iPhone, a new car or a pony. On the other hand, some children who deserve anything they could wish for find only socks and t-shirts in their Christmas packages. I assume you’ve delegated this task, so I would suggest you work on personnel changes in the “judgment” department.

Finally, an apology is in order. As a people, we are more entitled and greedy than when you began visiting us every Christmas Eve. Our obsession with shinier, more expensive toys has strained your elves. We have twisted Christmas into a commercial tool, making it a season of taking rather than receiving.  

Just know that some of us still appreciate you. Keep up the good work, and if you manage to find some time, try to answer a few of the letters you receive.


Nigel Sumerlin


Nigel is a freshman pursuing a double major in history and psychology.