Originally published online December 24, 2018
We all need them! This is the second Christmas story I’ve posted this year; the first, “Confession,” was a bit of a downer.
This follows up from last year’s Christmas story: “Evidence.”
Santa Claus was where he spent most of his not-Christmas days of the year; seated at his desk, behind his computer, somewhere in Texas. The days of hand-written lists were long gone. In the twenty-first century, Santa made use of the latest technology, and a little Christmas magic, of course.
On his screen, another Santa looked back at him with worried eyes. Santa Claus smiled and asked: “What’s going on, Jerry?”
Jerry hesitated before answering: “I think we have a problem, boss.”
Santa’s eyes widened. “How so?”
“I’ve been talking with some of the other helpers, and we’re all noticing the same thing: Some kids aren’t telling us what they want for Christmas.” Jerry said. “One little girl, Janice, said you already knew what she wanted. She told me: ‘Don’t worry about it, Santa’s helper.’ I got her to spill the beans, but I had to work for it.”
Santa looked upwards, thinking for a moment. “Yes. Janice. She wanted a doll.”
Jerry tilted his head in disbelief. “How did you know? Janice told me she told someone named Coe…lex…lex…atari?” He shook his head. “Drat. That wasn’t it. I forgot.”
“No worries, Jerry.” Santa winked. Jerry said nothing and just stared back. Santa raised a chubby finger to his mouth in a ‘shh’ gesture. “It’s my secret. You and the boys don’t worry about it. Just play along.”
If Jerry was reassured by Santa’s words, he didn’t show it. “If you say so, boss. I’m sending this week’s list now.” Jerry looked away at the camera. The sound of a mouse being clicked soon followed. “I’ll take your word on it, boss. If you say everything’s okay, then everything’s okay.”
“I’ll just say this, Jerry: Some of these kids got smart, so I had to get smart, too.” Santa said. A ding came from Santa’s computer. This time it was Santa’s turn to look away from the camera and do some clicking. After a moment, he exclaimed: “Got it! See you next week, Jerry. You tell the boys to not worry about the kids. Santa’s got everything under control!”
Jerry managed a weak smile. “Okay, boss. I’ll tell them. You have a good one too.” After a final click, Jerry disappeared from the computer screen. “Ho, ho ho,” Santa chucked to himself.
Somewhere in the world, a little girl hopped up and down on her tippy-toes. She spoke loudly so that the lady in the countertop speaker could hear her.
“Coe-lex-are-ee?” She asked, doing her best to remember the name her parents would use whenever they asked the computer lady to do things for them.
The digital assistant replied with a woman’s voice: “Yes, Alice?” Content that she could be heard, the little girl stopped her hopping.
“Can you tell Santa Claus what I want for Christmas?” Alice asked.
“Of course, Alice.” The digital woman said. Alice let out a gasp of delight. Her delight soon turned to bewilderment. Like some children, she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted for Christmas just yet. She placed a finger to her lower lip and pressed it down. “Uhhhhh…” She pondered. Suddenly, her face lit up: “Please tell Santa Claus I want a teddy bear!”
“Of course, Alice. I’m sending your wish to Santa Claus now.” The speaker said. “But don’t forget, Alice, only good children get presents from Santa.”
“Okay! I’ll be good! Thank you!” Alice loudly answered.
“You’re welcome, Alice. Merry Christmas.” The digital assistant said. Alice had already skipped away from the kitchen, happily humming ‘Jingle Bells.’
Back in his office, a tall speaker on Santa’s desk, just like to the one in the little girl’s kitchen, said: “The wish list has been updated, Santa.”
“Thanks, Corlexari!” Santa smiled. “Yup.” He leaned back in his chair to take a nap. “Everything’s under control.”
I have to wonder if any kids have tried to use their parent’s digital assistants to send a message to Santa. If they did, did he get it?
Merry Christmas, and thank you for reading!