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From the Publisher’s Desk – Get those cookies and milk ready

By Keith Whitson

Santa sure is fast for a fat man. I just saw him in one store and somehow he managed to beat me to the next one. Rumor has it that he is appearing somewhere in most every town, city and state today. If the election wasn’t already decided, I would swear he is trying to be our next president.

Santa – the myth, the legend, the man – has more powers than any superhero on the market. He can be everywhere at the same time and deliver toys for all of his stops in a single night, while riding through the air in a small sleigh, powered by tiny reindeer.

There must be other locations where he restocks his gifts. They can’t all fit behind him in a small sleigh at one time. My guess is Area 51 in Nevada. Why else would it be so secretive?

How many toys does Santa need? I tried to find out, but information is limited. I think there must be some sort of top security to such data. A study done a few years back shows that there are over 6 million letters going out to him every year. He evidently has a huge network of employees to open mail and make a list to go by. Santa then checks it twice to make sure nothing was left off.

Santa can go down a chimney and not get stuck and he can also get into  homes without a chimney. He sees you when you are sleeping. He knows when you are awake. I find this all a bit disturbing.

I imagine that Santa also takes time to use the bathroom in at least one third of the houses he stops at. You can’t drink that much milk and eat that many cookies and expect otherwise. Not every house leaves a snack. A survey I saw estimated the number to be around 4.5 million throughout roughly 30 countries.

If we average three cookies per plate and about 8 ounces of milk per home, North America would be somewhere around 3 million to 4.5 million cookies and about 1.5 million cups of milk. Goodies in general all over the world would  come to about 9 million pieces of international cuisine and 36 million ounces of milk or whatever.

I didn’t find any study to indicate whether Santa leaves more at the homes with the best treats. I feel bad even bringing it up. Hopefully he won’t be offended by anything in this article. Santa, I sent you my list by certified mail this year. You can’t claim you didn’t get it like you did last year. Check that list. I’ve got to be on there somewhere.

Santa actually looks pretty good for someone who consumes that much food. In fact, I am thinking about following his diet plan. Milk and cookies must give plenty of energy and super powers. I will call it the Ho Ho Healthy plan.

The one super power I have observed Santa bring is brightness to children’s eyes and the joys he fulfills for so many.

The Erwin Record has teamed with the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce for years to make photos of the children with Santa during the downtown tree lighting ceremony and breakfast with Santa events. After the tree lighting the children go into Erwin Town Hall and gather to hear Chamber Executive Director Amanda Delp read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and to catch an appearance of Santa.

It turned out everyone at the office was busy this year except me. Nervously I took on the challenge. Was I nervous over capturing the moment of each bright eyed child sitting on Santa’s lap or nervous over being around the all-knowing St. Nicholas myself? Maybe a little of both.

The room was full. The excitement was high. The anticipation was building. Santa arrived just in time, carrying a sack of candy. Stuffed animal toys had been delivered by his special team earlier. A line formed with anxious children of all ages and I took my place, which turned out to be the best seat in the house.

I got to witness the looks on every child as they approached Santa. The awe in their small faces was magical. Every child was different. Some ran up as if he was a favorite relative they  hadn’t seen since this time last year. Some approached with a shy demeanor and warmed up to him after that. Some didn’t want to leave his presence after the encounter. After all, they had waited in a line that must have seemed like forever to a small child. Others were unwillingly placed in Santa’s care and cried from fear. One wanted the toy but only while stretching out his little arm and standing a safe distance away.

The lists have now been made and the wishes spoken. It is time to wait for the magical day of Christmas.

I just had a thought – what about the children who receive puppies, kittens and ponies delivered in a sleigh from Santa? Evidently he can also travel with live animals. This man is amazing! Look up on Christmas Eve night. It may be raining cats and dogs.

Is it too late to increase my score for this year? I think I’m on the “Naughty List.”