The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Santa Claus's Retirement Letter
by S.B. Julian

Dear World,

Boy, have things ever changed in the toy-delivery field since I started my career. Remember when people wrote letters to Santa? They didn't expect to get one from me, but here goes ... I need to give you notice of my imminent retirement. I used to deliver a sleigh-full of dolls, teddy bears, train sets, roller skates and pencil sets on every magical Christmas Eve. (Pencils! Can you imagine?) But no more. Gifts have gone electronic. It's all game-boxes now, and fit-bits, gift cards and peculiar little digital devices that fall to the floor and get lost at the bottom of the sleigh.

I used to be able to park right beside the chimney I would be slipping down; now there are few chimneys left, only “smart heating” and roofs cluttered with solar panels. Last year, one sported a poster saying “REINDEER-DRAWN SLEIGHS EXPLOIT UNGULATES”.

Some houses even have notes on theirs roofs warning “mask is mandatory”. A mask, over a beard like mine?! No one needs a mask if they're already muffled by a deep thicket of white facial hair.

I used to find thoughtful treats of cookies and warm milk waiting for me beside people's hearths, but now everything they leave is stuff I'm scared to eat, like Guatemalan Keto Shark-free Spice Balls, and Dirty-Snowman Vegan Nut-free Kumquat Squares. And whatever happened to a nice cup of tea? Now I find a note advising me there's a Pomegranate Gingerbread Iced Latte in the fridge, or a Jagermeister-Curcumin Espresso Shot in the microwave.

And no one's decently in bed taking their long winter nap while I lurk in their living rooms; they're all hunkered down in separate rooms. I see the blue light from their digital devices glowing at windows and under doors. Even the kids aren't asleep, dreaming about what might be in their stockings while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. They're all texting their friends from under the covers.

No: Christmas Eve isn't what it was when I started out, apprenticed to Great-grandfather Claus. Nor is the elf staff! Not one knows how to wield a hammer and nail -- or even speak English. The North Pole is all immigrants and refugees now. Many are illiterate and can't even write the lists I need, so I can't check them twice. Luckily every kid wants the same thing anyway: digital stuff. High-tech robotic amazonian wares. I might as well retire, I'm beginning to feel, and be replaced by a drone. I'm just not as jolly as I used to be. I guess drones do go further and move faster than anything a bunch of reindeer would pull. They're much more efficient ... so, Tallyho-ho-ho, drones!

Still, I can't help thinking something magical is being lost.

Yours truly,

The Old Man in a Red Suit