All was not well at the North Pole. With the Big Day fast approaching, everything should have been moving at full speed ahead. But something just wasn’t right. IT WAS SANTA. He didn’t seem to be “into” his job this year. He should have been moving constantly; making out lists and checking them twice; and just making sure everything was running on schedule. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. He was down. Santa had convinced himself that he was no longer needed. “Gift giving has changed,” he said, “With all this online stuff, my jolly Ho Ho Ho on the rooftop has been replaced with a big smile stopping at the front door. How can I compete?” I arrived just in time to join the effort to change his attitude and to show him that he was needed more than ever. We called the campaign S.O.S. – Save Our Santa.

And what an effort is was! Especially with being short staffed, it seemed like everybody was involved – the elves, reindeer, family, friends, reporters, and strangers who just wanted to help. We were going to show Santa that the other guys had to compete with HIM. Everybody has examples of how Santa had helped them and how much different he was from some truck. There were so many that I will only relate a few.

I started by reminding Santa that gray, purple and brown are NOT Christmas colors. Then Rudolph; usually a Santa antagonist; reminded him that he is the originator of Overnight Delivery that has ALWAYS been free – and always will be. And while satisfaction is not guarenteed, that thought is always there. Santa nodded in agreement.

Then a stranger – George, I think – went next. “I remember way back, I had this thing (not really sure what it did) and it broke just before Christmas, I was sad. But then there was a new one on Christmas morning. What a joy!” “How did you know?” I said. “I still have it in a drawer somewhere.”

Another one mentioned a great gift she got one year. She said she played with the toy only a few minutes and it broke. She was quick to point out that things from Santa never came broken. “I had to break them myself, which I usually did the first day.” This finally got a chuckle out of Santa.

One of Santa’s friends from the North Pole then added that even when he gets stuff he doesn’t need or want, there is no hassle trying to return it. “It’s usually so good that I just regift it – it cuts out the middleman (and nobody is the wiser).”

You could see Santa perk up a little more with each testimonial to his importance. Everybody had great memories of Christmas morning gifts, but not many lasting memories of things that had been delivered to their front door. We sang several songs about Santa and reminded him that all “HIS” songs are happy and full of joy; and none of his songs have lyrics like “A smile is just a frown turned upside down.” Santa doesn’t deal in frowns. He enthusiatically agreed. S.O.S. concluded by telling Santa not to worry about this younger generation. They just haven’t been around long enough to experience real disappointment and to know the true joys of Christmas that you bring. It just takes time; but how can they learn without you?

With that, Santa got up and rushed out…barking orders and saying, “Times a wasting! Let’s not sit around, let’s get to work!”

Mission complete – at least for now.