By middle age, you can rack up more regrets than there are floors in the Empire State Building. As I look back at my broadcast career, I have one big regret. I never interviewed Santa. Like King Arthur in search of the Holy Grail, I scoured the country dredging up Santa Clauses on street corners or in malls, always finding that they were impostors.
While most people want publicity, don’t expect to see Santa starring in a reality tv show with the Kardashians anytime soon. For years I wrote Santa letters that I mailed to his workshop in the North Pole. I always got a note back from Mrs. Claus that stated: “My husband doesn’t give autographs or do interviews.” Give me a break.
I decided to stay up all night one Christmas Eve in the hope that I could interview Santa.
With me in my kerchief, and my husband in his cap, we read The Night Before Christmas 42 times before falling asleep with visions of sugar-plums dancing in our heads, bags forming under our eyes, and swollen feet. I stayed up the longest. I pretended that I was trimming the tree. I baked some macadamia nut cookies and put them by the fireplace for Santa. My husband later admitted that he had eaten all of the cookies himself.
I was so tired by 4:30am that I actually did a painful face-plant into a box of ornaments. I woke up with a Donald Duck tree topper I got in Disney World stuck to my forehead, gold tinsel wrapped around my neck, and our dog Bumper licking my face.
I was so disappointed that I had missed Santa. I remember as a child hiding behind the couch waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa. But then my little sister would blow my cover by yelling out that I had stepped on her foot, pulled her hair, or better yet yanked her arm out the socket. “I’m going to TELL Dad!” she would scream. Then I would sit on her, put my hand over her mouth, and tickle torture her for telling. Then my brothers would sit on her and tickle her too before my Dad would come in and threaten to ground us for six months. I was reminiscing about these Christmas memories when I spotted something on the mantel. Santa had left a selfie with a reindeer.
It was a good consolation prize, like winning Miss Congeniality in the Miss America pageant, the community service prize in high school, or thinking you are getting an Oscar only to wind up with Ellen DeGeneres in a selfie on Twitter. I was so angry at my husband for eating all the cookies. “You blame me for everything!” he protested, claiming Santa probably has a nut allergy.
Why did I want to interview Santa so badly? Was I acting delusional? Is he a figment of my imagination? Was the need to find him so dysfunctional that Dr. Phil should do a Christmas special with me titled: “Mom Suffering From Sugar-plum Fantasy Who Can Name All Nine Reindeer.” You can fault me if you want, but I have always wanted to ask this plump, white-bearded old man in the red suit some important questions like, “If Rudolph really has a shiny nose, have you tried Clearasil?” Or: “If all teens talk back to their mothers, how do you know who is naughty or nice?” And, “Is Santa a paid spokesman for a toy company?” Several sources told me that he was but no one would go on record. I wanted Santa to finally admit it so I could give him a piece of my mind. After all, I am the mother of three children he has spoiled rotten.
Yes, I’d tell him that I blame him for this “me generation” of materialistic, narcissistic, coddled Americans who can’t wait to leave the Thanksgiving table to run out to buy even more gifts. You see frantic Americans trampling each at the sales in the stores, with half-eaten drumsticks still in their mouths and wet gravy on their lips. He had turned the Christmas and Hanukkah season into a gift-giving frenzy. The more that I think about it, maybe it’s a good thing that I never found him. I would have ended up on Santa’s naughty list, with so much coal in my stocking that I’d be humming the lyrics from Loretta Lynn’s hit song “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”