Santa or Bust

“What do you mean I can’t be Santa Claus?”

“What do you mean I can’t be Santa Claus?”

“Carter, how many times do I have to tell you? It’s impossible.”


“Because his job is already taken… by Santa himself.”

“Okay so what about when he gets old?”

“When he gets old?”

“Well, yeah.” Carter began to whisper. “He has to die sometime, you know.”

“What? Carter, no. Santa can’t die. He’s immortal. He lives forever.”

“That doesn’t make sense. I thought everyone dies.”

“Well, yeah.”

“So why doesn’t Santa?”

“I don’t know, it’s magic.”

“Is Santa, God, then?”

“What? No. Santa is not God.”

“So then he’s a person.”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

“He’s just a regular guy.”

“Uh huh.”

“And I’m also just a regular guy.”

“Oh boy. Carter-”

“So then I could be Santa!”


“Well I don’t understand. First you tell me the position is already taken. Then you say Santa can’t die, but he’s also just a regular guy. I just want one good reason why I can’t be Santa.”

“Carter… you have to choose a real job.”

“Being Santa is a real job.”

“No. No, it’s not.”

“Yes, it is. What if this is what I really wanna do? What if this is my destiny? What if being Santa is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life? I won’t let you or anyone else stop me from following my dreams!”

“You can’t just be Santa. It’s not a real job.”

“If it’s not a real job, then how did Santa get it?”

“I don’t know…”

“Ha! So then it is a real job!”

“Okay, fine. You know what? I’ll humor you. Tell me, how is being Santa a real job? Does he work 40 hours a week? Does he get paid? Does he have a boss?”

Carter crossed his arms. “Do you know anything about Santa? He gets paid in milk and cookies and the joy of children around the world. And he doesn’t need a boss, he is the boss.” Carter paused and tapped his chin. “I’m not sure about the 40 hours a week thing, but I’m sure making enough toys for the whole world isn’t really a late night Christmas eve kinda job. But I’m sure you wouldn’t know anything about that.”

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t know.”

“Carter, what is this really about?”

“I just think being Santa would be awesome.”

“Okay, okay. Why do you think being Santa is what’s best for you?”

“Because.” Carter took a deep breath. “He’s probably the most famous person in the world. Everyone loves Santa. Have you ever heard someone make fun of Santa? Have you ever heard someone laugh at Santa? No, you haven’t. Because no one has. Who could hate someone that brings everyone free toys?”

“Is that all?”

“And… he gets to eat all the free cookies he wants.”

“You can’t eat that many cookies.”

“What? Why not?”

“Because it’s not healthy.”

“But Santa does it.”

“You’re not Santa.”

“But I could be!”

“Carter, do you want me to bake you some cookies?”

“I don’t want any of your dumb cookies.”

“Jeez, okay, fine. I won’t bake you any cookies. I was just trying to be nice, you know.”

“And I’m just trying to help people.”

“Help people?”

“Yeah, like Santa does.”

“Why do you have to help people like Santa does?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why do you have to be Santa, why can’t you just be yourself?”

“Because Santa is magical, and he has reindeer and elves to help him, and all I have is some old wrapping paper from last year that says Merry X-mas in gross brown letters, and who wants their presents to be wrapped in ugly wrapping paper?” Carter took a deep breath. “So I have to be Santa otherwise I’ll never be able to help.”

There was a long pause and then, “Carter, is there someone specific you want to help?”


“Why don’t you tell me about it and maybe we can figure something out.”

“Well… it’s this girl in my class. Her name is Jessica. People were making fun of her the other day, because I guess she doesn’t get as many Christmas presents. They were all talking and comparing what they thought they were getting for Christmas. Then they asked her how many presents she thought she would get, and she said just two: a new coat and a new pair of shoes.”

“Uh huh, I see.”

“And that’s all she gets! Every year it’s the same thing. After she said that all the other kids started laughing and making fun of her, and she got really sad and went to go play by herself.”

“Did you go talk to her after that?”

“Well… no. I didn’t know what to say. All she wanted was a cool toy like the other kids, and I couldn’t give her that.”

“So you came up with the idea to become Santa so you could.”

“Uh huh.”

“Carter, I think I might have a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve you becoming Santa.”

“You do? What is it?”

“Well, first of all, I don’t think she was just upset about not getting presents. I think she needs a

friend, too.”

“And I can be that friend.”

“Yes, yes you can.”

“But what about the presents?”

“Carter, do you remember that Christmas a couple years ago when we bought presents for that family with four kids?”

“Kind of.”

“You helped me pick out that awesome racing car for that boy who was your age.”

“Oh yeah, now I remember. That car was so cool.”

“Yes, exactly. But we weren’t the only people who donated toys. Lots of others went and picked out cool stuff for that family, too.”

“Okay… so what does this have to do with Jessica.”

“Carter, I’m saying what if we got a bunch of families to go out and buy gifts for Jessica’s family?”

“Oh! That’d be awesome! She’d be so happy.”

“Now you got it.”

“But wait, I still have a question.”

“What is it?”

“If Santa is so magical, why can’t he give lots of presents to everyone?”

“Oh boy. Umm… that’s a tough question. You see, Santa isn’t as perfect as everyone makes him seem. Sometimes he makes mistakes, just like the rest of us.”

“Oh. I see.”

“Are you surprised by that?”

“No, I guess it makes sense. After all, Santa is just a regular guy. Okay, I guess I won’t be Santa when I grow up.”

“Good. I’m glad we got that all sorted out.”

“One more question, though.”


“So what’s up with the tooth fairy?”

Marian Cramer is a junior at the Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance. She aspires to study creative writing in college and become a novelist someday.

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