“Saving Santa”

Excerpt From A Father’s Love

Every year, a mother or father has to step up to the plate and do it. My turn was the year my daughter turned six. It was the year I saved Santa.

Nikki was being tormented by classmates who were going to the utmost extremes to challenge the dreams of starry-eyed boys and girls, saying there was no such thing as Santa Claus. And she was desperate to believe there was a Santa. One day, before Christmas, she came up to her mother and me with an FAO Schwartz catalog and said, “This is what I would like for Christmas.” This was a maroon, custom-detailed, $8,000, child-size Mercedes Benz. True to the fatherhood DNA I was blessed with, I was just relieved she hadn’t picked the Lamborghini.

Of course, there was no way she was getting this car, but I had to figure out how to make her understand that her “Santa” really drove a Ford Taurus, and there was no way he could bring her a Mercedes.

Now I’ve been around the block, and I’m a businessman. I’ve had to deal with challenging situations before, and I’m pretty good at using my astute and logical male mind to get out of a bind. Some may question my use of the words male and logic in the same sentence. My wife does all the time.

So I explained to my daughter that Santa might not be able to afford a gift that expensive since he has so many children in the world to deliver to. You are probably thinking, Dang, he’s good.

Nikki looked up at me, her eyes showing total understanding, and said, “Well, it won’t cost Santa a thing. The elves will make it.” Clearly, my daughter had inherited my astute and logical male mind.

I then explained that sometimes, for the more expensive items, Santa will actually shop at FAO Schwartz so that his elves won’t have to spend so much time on one item. But even with his Jolly St. Nick discount, it was still very expensive. And that didn’t even take into consideration whether she’d been that good of a girl that year.

She seemed to embrace the idea. So then she came up with plan #2 and said, “I want a Pokémon snow globe.”

Now for the uninformed, Pokémon is a Japanese card game phenomenon with characters, such as Bulbasaur or Pikachu. Kids collect the cards and play fantasy games with each other. It was a bit odd to me. I understand it about as well as I understand how The Clapper works. But that may be my own issue.

So I said, “That sounds like a good plan.”

I had no idea how much I was now in over my head. Her mother did, standing behind Nikki shaking her head while trying to divert what she could easily see was a disaster waiting to happen.

Then Nikki, with the skill of a supreme court trial lawyer making her final closing argument, put the final bow on my clever package. She looked at me with piercing six-year-old eyes, so much like Kryptonite to a father, and said, “I want a Pokémon snow globe because nobody makes them. That way, if I get one, I know there is a Santa.” Okay, so my astute, logical male mind backfired. Not the first time. Not the last.

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