• 59°

Greetings from the North Pole

Hi. Santa Claus here.

Do you ever wonder what I do on the 364 days when I’m not delivering toys? Mostly, I try to figure out what kids will want for the coming Christmas. It’s hard; kids are so picky. Why do you think I come by in the middle of the night? Because they’re asleep, that’s why. That way I won’t have to listen to their whining if they didn’t get exactly what they wanted.

So what if it’s figure skates instead of hockey skates? They’re skates. Be happy you got something. So what if it’s the wrong color? It’s still a dump truck. Now, if it were a fire engine, I’d understand. Still, be happy you got something.

Well, those days are gone. Kids are much more demanding now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the job. I’m my own boss and I get to set my own hours. Besides, what else would I do at my age? Become a barista at Starbucks? A personal trainer? A life coach?

But, like any other job, it has its problems. Maybe you heard about the flooding at my place this past summer? No ice at the North Pole for the first time in, like, oh yeah — history! Thanks, guys. I’ve had to move my whole operation to the South Pole just to be safe. It’s horrible. I keep tripping over those “March of the Penguins” people filming all the time. Do you know how long it takes to get a penguin to act cute? Weeks.

The North Pole will still be my mail drop for the next several years, until I can send out the “change of address” forms. To make up the cost of the move, every present I deliver for the next 50 years will say “batteries not included” and “some assembly required.”

Then the elves threatened to go on strike until I coughed up health insurance and a shorter work week. They also wanted a free cafeteria. Who do they think I am? Google? Facebook? Amazon? Who do they think is going to pay for all that? The Tooth Fairy?

Speaking of which, we had the Tooth Fairy over for dinner last week and trust me, she’s got her own problems. You leave a kid a quarter for a tooth nowadays and they stop believing in you. They want two bucks, minimum — for a baby tooth! She’s going through cash faster than Elon Musk on a rocket ship. Her expenses have gone through the roof. Plus, she’s dating a real creep. Somebody she met online, Harvey somebody.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to know that when Santa’s got a problem, you’ve got a problem. And here it is: I can’t predict what kids want anymore. I usually base this year’s presents on what was hot last year. Sure, it’s not an exact science, but I pretty much know that if every kid wanted a hot video game last year, I’m going to need a lot of the sequel game this year. Sure, every now and then some Tickle Me Elmo or Cabbage Patch fad comes along that I didn’t see coming, but by and large, I get it right.

But things have changed. I couldn’t believe what children wanted for Christmas this year. One 9-year-old asked me for an AmEx Platinum Card, a 50-inch plasma TV for her room, a weeklong spa vacation for her and her three best friends, an iPhone X, a pony and a fake ID that said she was 11. Trust me, she wasn’t the only one. What ever happened to asking for a bike? Or a baseball bat? Or new shoes? And I have a feeling that if I don’t get this stuff for her, her parents will.

I liked it a lot better when most of my letters said things like, “Dear Santa, I don’t need anything, but could you please give my Dad a job?” or “Dear Santa, My Mom says she wonders where all the money will come from. Could you please tell her?” If I knew, I’d brave a long, fiery chimney to help.

Contact Jim Mullen at mullen.jim@gmail.com.



Council to discuss potential changes to Downtown Revitalization Incentive grant program


Public safety, city manager, economy: Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss city’s biggest issues


Political Notebook: Rowan Democratic Party makes endorsements for municipal races


Spencer looking for big impact from new storefront grants

Granite Quarry

Election 2021: Granite Quarry’s new mayor will be a veteran or a newcomer

Ask Us

Ask Us: If I received my vaccine in another county, is it recorded in Rowan?


Young entrepreneur raises $1,000 for Rowan County United Way with lemonade stand


Election 2021: Candidates in East Spencer hoping to continue moving town forward


Election 2021: Candidates detail their visions, goals if elected to Salisbury City Council

China Grove

Election 2021: China Grove Town Council candidates detail approaches to handling economic, residential growth


Elect 2021: Four candidates competing for three seats in town of Cleveland


County hopes software will streamline foster home licensing process


Election 2021:Four vie for pair of seats on Granite Quarry board

High School

High school volleyball: Carson tops Mustangs again


Judge: No waiting on NC budget to act on school funding


2 more House Democrats retiring, underscoring 2022 obstacles


Man jailed for shooting at Davie detectives in Rowan County given $560,000 bond


County Commissioner Craig Pierce pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated


Overdose call turns into homicide investigation on Ted Lane


Court judgment requires occupants to vacate Gheen Road home, site of two murders


Blotter: Oct. 17


Bill Clinton back home after hospitalization from infection


Early voting creeps along as county holds first municipal voting on Sunday


5 killed in single-vehicle crash in Raleigh