Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Letters to Santa

      So I was careless when grabbing a letter from the Letters to Santa bin this year, and only when I got home did I look at it and see neat printing on Citadel stationery.
     “Santa I have been very good,” it read. “Please give me the following: one Polo Bear Ralph Lauren Tuxedo Bear Wool Sweater ($395); one Burberry Bandana in Vintage Check Cashmere ($595); one pair Lacroix LXR HD skis ($2,700), one . . . .” My gaze leapt to the bottom of the letter.
     “Oh great, I got Ken Griffin,” I groaned to my wife, referring to the richest man in Illinois.
     I liked the annual Letters to Santa program a lot more before, in the spirit of the new Congressional tax plan, it shifted from providing presents to under-privileged children to buying holiday fripperies for the wealthiest of the wealthy.
     “We better head to Neiman Marcus,” she began. “I’ll grab the credit cards . . . .”
     OK, none of the above is true. Well, except for the cruel, rob-the-humble-to-benefit-millionaires tax plan — that is all too true, unfortunately. And my being careless about selecting this year’s letters to Santa is certainly true. I took two letters, thinking that would make shopping easier: kids have a way of asking for some unobtainable thing, “The Danger Ranger Master Blaster” that sold out in September. With two letters I could fill the easier one, return the other, duty done.

To continue reading, click here.


  1. Great column, Neil. Easily relatable. Very human. I especially especially enjoyed the part where you acquiesced to the "Mama Lion". Smart. Remember Tsavo.

  2. Funny stuff, Neil. Bravo.

    If shopping for the stuff is bad, imagine the poor bastards at the toy companies who have to think it up. (Although I suppose that in reality, most of them love their work. It takes all kinds.)

  3. I kind of like the idea of the Letters to Santa program insofar as it allows poor children to participate in a social and cultural event they otherwise would be excluded from. However, it seems the program benefits the toy industry more than it does poor children, not only from the purchases made by affluent donors such as Neil, but also from conditioning the children to associate Christmas with gifts, so that if some of them actually manage to wrestle their way out of poverty, they will be trained consumers who faithfully pony up at Christmas time to make sure the toy industry does not go the way of steel and coal, buggy whips and crinolines (and newspapers).


    1. Sure, the toy companies profit, but it's all a part of our economic engine. A cog in the wheel.

  4. "Conditioning the children to associate Christmas with gifts..." I think that horse left the starting gate some time ago. And not all of Neil's gifts were toys. Funny thing about kids. Sometimes they go for something old fashioned and simple over the pricey electronically powered thingamajig.



Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.