Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Santa Claus ponders his role in 2019

“Things are not the way they used to be,” Santa Claus said with a sigh.
 “We have to keep up with the times,” said Uptodate, his number one elf, a subordinate Claus.
          “Ah,” said Santa, “but sometimes I long for the good old Christmas eves, when we delivered toys that were designed to make children wiggle and giggle and laugh a lot.”
           “Children now are in the space age, the computer age,” said Upty. “It’s the age of STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
          “Whatever happened to EWTY, which stands for enjoy while they’re young?” Santa asked.
          He studied a toy catalog. “Look here,” he said. “Here’s a starter kit for iPad, for ages five to ten, introducing early physics. And here’s a toy coding robot that it says promotes problem-solving skills.
          “One company is making walky-talkies for little children, with 22 channels! And some kids are asking for this new 190-piece robot-building kit with a solar-powered motor.”
          “The toy makers are just creating task-oriented closed-ended activities that have an end result or a specific objective,” said Uptodate.
          “We used to do that with blocks,” said Santa.
          “Well, here’s a set of geometric stackers for toddlers, with 25 colorful wooden rings, octagons and rectangles,” said Uptodate.
          “Sounds like blocks,” said Santa.
          He looked through a pile of letters from children, telling him what they want for Christmas.
           “They’re making lap top computers designed for children age five to eight,” he muttered. “Little girls used to ask for dollies with evening gowns, and boys wanted cowboy outfits. Now they both want space suits.
          “Their grandfathers, when they were young, asked for pearl-handled pistols like the Lone Ranger’s on the radio, or maybe a ray gun from the Buck Rogers comic strip. Now kids want models of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
          “There are still requests for doll houses, or forts for toy soldiers. But now there are also kids who want space stations. There’s a model kit to build a planetary orbiter with a Mars rover.”
          “Cheer up, Santa,” Uptodate said. “Lots of  kids out there still ask for a sled or a bike or a ball or a jumping rope or a hula hoop or skates or a top, bless them. And there are books.”
          “Of course, books,” Santa smiled. “There are still the good old books for pre-school kids, like ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ or ‘The Little Engine That Could’ or ‘Good Night Moon’.”
         “Out-of-date,” said the elf. “Today there’s ‘All About Matter,’ a book that tells little kids that there are solids, liquids and gasses. And ‘Newton and Me,’ that explains force and motion in rhymes, with cute illustrations.
           “There are also books about the solar system. “But there are a half dozen planetariums to teach children about the solar system and the stars. So, who needs a book?”
          Santa groaned. “That’s exactly why I long for the old Christmas eves,” he said, “when I delivered toys that were designed to make little children wiggle and giggle and laugh a lot.”
          Uptodate cleared his throat.
          “This may not be the best moment to bring it up, Santa,” he said, “but the other elves and I have been discussing a better way of traveling. Reindeer teams are rather out-of-date, even the flying type. Shouldn’t you look into using a helicopter?”
          “Oh, give me a break,” Santa shook his head and grumbled. “But merry Christmas anyway.”

Visit columnist Jim Smart’s web site at jamessmartsphiladelphia.com.                

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