BECAUSE Santa is well known for bringing joy and happiness to people of all ages, it’s hard to conceive of him making a delivery error. However, on occasion, he does. A wrong size or color or shape or something. “How can that happen?” you ask. There are several possibilities. Santa won’t admit it, but his eye sight isn’t what it used to be. (Who’s is?) He doesn’t always wear his glasses because it’s either he can’t stand the lines of his bifocals or there’s a glare off the moon and they fog up at high speeds. To him, all good excuses, but just ask Mrs. Claus. (That could be a lengthy conversation.) Other times it’s poor penmanship in the letters, or a missed keystroke that causes chaos, and sometimes people just change their mind after Santa has already loaded his sleigh.

FEAR not, Santa will not accept anyone being disappointed. While he can’t personally rectify the situation with the correct item, he has established an elaborate network of locations for returns and exchanges for those folks who will not be regifting. The system is so extensive and accepted that some countries have declared the day after Christmas a national holiday known as “Boxing Day.”

THROUGH the years Santa has developed many contacts. In return for placing a representative at their location, they agree to accept and correct Santa’s mis-deliveries. It is a definite win-win for everyone. The location gets added business, the returnee leaves happy and satisfied, and of course Santa’s reputation is as strong as ever. How the returns get back to the North Pole and what happens to them is a well kept secret.

AS you can see, Santa makes every effort to satisfy all the requests to ensure happiness on Christmas. At times this can be a real challenge. Especially so with the unusual requests. (You’d be surprised at how many requests he gets for camels-and not just for smokers.) A lot are from kids with vivid imaginations, but not all. This year a most unusual request came across Santa’s desk. It was for a scaled down, rustic-looking truck with operating headlights to use in an ornamental garden display. Santa remembered seeing one at Herbein’s Garden Center in Emmaus, PA on the floor for sale. He passed the information on to Ellie, for her Elite Ensemble of Expert Elf Engineers to produce a reasonable facsimile. Even though they are the best, it will be hard to duplicate the one at Herbein’s. Santa will take all these requests because he knows his team well and the quality of their work. Everybody has been working overtime to make this Christmas special with the worldwide pandemic still raging. They don’t want to see anyone disappointed.

AS Santa always says, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

written by Herbein’s own elf, Dan Sivco