OP­ER­A­TION REIN­DEER — RE­SULTS MAY VARY

Weekend Witness - - Opinion -

RE­CENTLY,­a­l ocal­r adio­s tation­hel d­aphone­line­wher e­kids­c ould­s end­intheir­que stions­f or­Santa­and­the­ol dman­fr om­the­North­P ole­w ould­an­swer­them­hims elf.Nudge­nudg e­—­wink, ­wink. ­ It­w as­a­no vel­ide a.­It­als o­smack sof­the­tins el­and­a­de sper­ate­need­f ora­c om­mer­cial­r adio­s tation­t o­pushthe­whol e­f es­tive­s ea­son­boll ocks.Do­I­s ound­lik e­a­hum­bug ?­Bah! But­I­mus t­be­g et­ting­ol d­bec ause,when­my­kids­w ere­y oung,­w e­als o­dida­simil ar­thing. ­My­s on,­who se­Chris tmas­lis ts­w ere­g et­ting­out­o f­c on­trol,needed­a­lit tle­beha viour­modific ation.

Every­t oy­shop­bec ame­lik e­cr ack­t oan­ad­dic t­—­his­e yes­w ould­s tand­on­stalks­and­he­w ould­s tart­whin­ing. ­

My­e x-hus­band­and­I­us ed­t o­tak e­ com­pli­cated­de tours­thr ough­the­mallto­a void­the­t emp­ta­tion­o f­L ego­s et­sand­ Star Wars fig­urines.

In­tho se­da ys,­be­ing­put­on­“Santa naughty­lis t”­w as­a­v ery­v alu­ablethreat.­My­six -year­ol d­s on­w as­on­the­brink­o f­an­a wak­en­ing­—­he­w as­s tart­ing­t o­be­lie ve­that­Santa­did­no t­e xist.

I­needed­t o­r ec­tify­this­sit­u­a­tion­im­me­di­ately.

I­phoned­a­mal e­friend­and­g ave­him­the­he ads­up­that ,­l ater­in­the­day,­I­w ould­be­phon­ing­“Santa ”­andtelling­him­that­my­s on­c ould­be­acan­di­date­f or­the­naught y­lis t.­I­t old­him­t o­us e­his­cr eativ­ity­and­po wer­sof­per sua­sion­t o­g et­the­de sired­be­hav­iour­modific ation.

Of­c ourse,­I­g ot­Santa ’s­c ell­num­berthrough­my­v alu­able­ne twork­o f­c on- ’s­ tacts­and­the­mo­ment­ar­riv ed­when­Ide­cided­it­w as­time­t o­enf or­ceOPERATION­REIN­DEER .­I­di­all ed­thenum­ber­and­be gan­my­c on­ver­sa­tion.

“Santa,­I’ m­afr aid­y ou­ma y­ha ve­t oput­Ow en­on­the­naught y­lis t­—­he­is­not­beha ving­v ery­w ell­at­the­mo­ment.”­My­s on­w as­w atch­ing­thr ough­nar­rowed­e yes.­“Oh­I’ m­no t­sur e­hedeserves­a­s econd­chanc e,”­I­said­em­phat­i­cally.­My­s on’s­lip­s tarted­t o­quiv - er.­“Ok,­y ou­c an­spe ak­t o­him­y our­self,”I­said, ­hid­ing­a­grin.

Owen­t ook­the­phone­and­w as,­asal­ways,­quick­on­the­up­tak e,­sa ying:“Hello­Santa, ­my­mom­als o­needs­t obe­put­on­the­naught y­lis t.­She­has­been­shout­ing­at­me!” ­he­sniv elled.I­r olled­my­e yes.It­s eems­the­c on­ver­sa­tion­t ook­a­ turn­f or­the­w orse­when­I­he ard­Ow en­say­ing:­“I­c an’t­f eed­them­do g­bis cuits—­eeuw!” ­It­s eems­my­friend­and­Ivar­ied­slightl y­on­the­agr eed­s cript.

In­my­v er­sion,­the­r ein­deers­w ouldbe­f ed­c ar­rots­and­Santa­w ould­g et­am­ince­pie­and­a­gl ass­o f­milk. ­I­sus­pected­the­whol e­s cript­had­g oneawry­when­I­he ard­the­ne xt­snippe t.

­“OK,­I’ m­sur e­w e­c an­l eave­y ou­abot­tle­o f­whisk ey,­but­if­y ou­drink­and­drive­w on’t­y ou­be­c aught?”­he­ask ed.

Ap­par­ently­Santa­t old­him­that­e ven­the­polic e­helic opters­c an’t­c atch­thesleigh­when­it­is­in­hy­per -drive­and­it­was­ok ay­bec ause­the­r ein­deers­had­aGPS.­App ar­ently­the­whisk ey­w as­f ormedic­i­nal­purpo ses­and­t o­pr event­frost­bite.

The­c on­ver­sa­tion­bec ame­an­au­dio­ pan­tomime­as­Santa­pr oceeded­t o­e xplain­that­he­w as­on­a­spe­cial­die t­t ohelp­him­slide­do wn­the­chimne y.

Also,­the­r ein­deers­w ere­tr ained­inkarate­in­c ase­the y­needed­t o­tackl eour­an­gry­do gs­in­the­g ar­den.

Santa­and­my­s on­had­a­cr ack­ing­good­chat .­“Okay­Santa, ­ha ve­a­g oodChrist­mas­and­I’ll­w ave­when­y ou­driv epast,”­said­Ow en.­Gr­rrr!

“So,­ar e­y ou­s till­on­the­naught list?”­I­de­manded­when­the­phonewas­put­do wn.­“Nah!” ­he­said­cheer­fully.­“He’ s­ac tu­ally­quit e­c ool­whenyou­g et­t o­kno w­him,” ­said­my­s on.

Hmmm,­that­w as­no t­quit e­the­de sired­out come­I­w as­l ook­ing­f or. y­ • Tr­ish Beaver is a free­lance jour­nal­ist and blog­ger at www.tr­ish­beaver.com -

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