The Technical Details of Santa, according to a 4 & 6 year olds

This year my two children have reached the wizened ages of 4 and 6.  My son aged four is just entering prime Santa logic territory while my daughter, yes she’s the six-year-old for all of you following along, has a few years of accumulated Santa wisdom to pass on to her brother.

Early in the season they started slow. We ran into Santa as he was just setting up at the mall.  He didn’t look the part a little too thin and, after all, it’s always tough to buy the Santa illusion when he’s stringing lights with a half-eaten meal of Nathan’s hot dogs sitting on the table next to him. As we trundled past him my daughter announced. ” Not a real Santa.”

“Of course. ” Confirmed my son. “Oh yeah?” I prodded.

“Dad. He’s one of the Santa’s that works for the real Santa. One of the kinda Santas” explained Carolyn patiently.

Ian stopped spread his hands to illustrate his point ” No magic. Obviously.”

I had the feeling that they had been discussing Santa ID attributes at length behind the scenes.

“We’ll see him next week.” instructed Ian, ” He sees the real Santa more the closer it gets to Christmas.”


Two weeks to go and the Santa analysis has started to heat up. During dinner Ian gets extremely animated explaining Santa Metaphysics.

“Dad, you don’t understand magic. And what you don’t know is that there are five real Santas, one for each Continent!” Now I know for a fact that Ian has a great deal of trouble with the concept of town, state, country, continent but he had obviously keyed into one particular term from my dreadfully boring lecture as I explained the globe in our living room.

After he had explained that there was a team involved he moved on to the core issue of toy output divided by world demand.

“Each kid’s toy list gets done in order. It’s just like when Mr. Ben lines us up to get juice boxes. The first kid on the line gets juice first and you have to wait ’til it’s your turn. But every one gets juice. That’s the way Santa works. ”

“So you told Santa you want a juice box for Christmas.”

His eyes blaze for a moment and he levels a finger at me.

“Dad! There is no joking about Santa. This is serious stuff ya know!”


Five days out and Santa becomes the topic of every third conversation. They are Santa obsessed. They recount past Santa events like the time they heard sleigh bells or in the most Santa moment so far the sleigh tracks in the snow last Christmas.

We sign on to the web and each child writes a letter to Santa. Ian waits patiently as I type in his list. Dump truck, nintendo d/s, zhu zhu pet, rubber snake….Whew they are all safely bought, wrapped and hidden. I get to the end of the letter and he looks at me sheepishly.

“Can I type some letters?” he asks.

“Sure thing.”

“Don’t look!” he orders. I spend half my day not looking. I’m an expert at doing almost any household chore while ‘not looking’. He fishes around in the pocket of his pj’s and pulls out a slip of paper with his sister’s writing on it.  He types slowly, finding each letter by carefully scanning the keyboard line by line as his tongue involuntarily switches from sticking out of first the left and then the right side of his mouth.

He’s proud, oh so proud.
“You can look now Dad. Did I do the letters right?”


God, I love the web. I help him hit send and presto Santa’s reply appears. It ends with ” I love you too Ian.”


Three days to go and they stand transfixed in the produce aisle staring at the carrot selections. Carolyn carefully reads the sign on the bags of baby carrots whispers in Ian’s ear and a moment later he is tugging on my sleeve. I look down at a little hand with three fingers held up.

“Dad, can I have this many dollars to buy Rudolph a treat?”

“We’ve got carrots at home.”

“Dad!” he stamps his foot. “Santa might be watching. He’ll know that we didn’t buy them for Rudolph.” There is not a wallet on earth that can withstand this childish logic.


And now, finally, it’s Christmas Eve. They return from their mother’s “family gathering” a total wreck. It seems their crazy uncle gave them a Wii gaming system only to angrily take it away from them halfway through the evening. Their unstable mother stole it back in some kind of psych unit solution to Christmas Eve family dynamics.

“We had the worst Christmas any kid has ever had ever!!!” announces my daughter, sobbing as she enters the house.

My heart sinks. My ex and her family are a psycho reality tv show waiting to debut.

“That can’t be true. ” I tell them. “Christmas hasn’t even come yet. Santa is in Japan I just saw it on the computer.”

They calm down a little and I log into NORAD’s track Santa site. Once again, thank god for the web.

“Oops, he’s made it all the way to the Falkland Island’s” I explain. They calm down and we go through the American ritual of placing out cookies, milk, carrots and, oddly Spinach. “All reindeers eat Spinach” explains Ian.

As he drifts off to sleep Ian decides to fill in some of the holes in my Santa knowledge.

“He can walk through walls, ya know. He’s an elf and he’s magic and sometimes only kids can see him.”  he whispers.  You’re right about all that Ian he is magic and he does walk through walls.

My daughter, on the other hand, is wired. She’s still upset and going to sleep, for her, is always the end of a lengthy conversation.

“Santa is having lots of problems with the elves being silly this year.”

“Oh really?!”

“Yeah…they kept jumping in the wrapping paper machine. He has to keep unwrapping them.” Once again, some clever pro Santa webmaster added that story to the letter she received in reply to her heartfelt plea.

“Dad how far is the North Pole?”

“Oh..I guess about ten thousand miles.”

“Ten thousand miles! Wow! That’s far!”

“It sure is honey.”

“Dad, are you sure Santa can make it that far?”

“Oh yes pumpkin. I’m sure. He’s magic you know.”

“Yeah, he’ll make it. He’s magic……….”

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


~ by Brad Morrison on January 1, 2010.

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