Narrator: Even though it is accepted almost as fact that modern day kids are usually more naughty than nice, this year many parents are demanding that Santa Claus explain his methodology in making up his famous Naughty and Nice Lists. (Stars come into view and a blur of red and white swooshes across the screen). Returning to his lair at the North Pole after making his annual Christmas Eve journey, Santa hoped to have a little rest and relaxation, but he got much more than he bargained for from these disgruntled parents and now must prepare for his greatest challenge of all.
(Sleigh descends to North Pole Village and Santa gets out smiling. Fade to black. “Several days later” flashes across the screen. A high-tech computer center becomes visible with four elves wearing headsets, feverishly handling calls and typing on keyboards.)
Elf 1: This is ridiculous, Hermie. I can’t keep up with these calls.
Elf 2: I know, Rolf. All the parents are calling and complaining.
Elf 3: It’s like the world has gone crazy.
Elf 4: They all want to know “why” Santa gave their kids coal.
Elf 2: Or didn’t give a bigger and better gift than he gave.
Elf 1: Their sense of entitlement is amazing this year.
(Mrs. Claus walks into the room wiping her hands on her apron).
Mrs. C: What is this I hear?
Elf 1: Oh, Mrs. Claus, it’s a terrible mess. Parents all over the globe are calling.
Elf 2: They’re angry with Santa for giving their children coal.
Elf 3: Or they’re unhappy with the toys he did give the children.
Mrs. C: How dare they? Santa has done the same thing for the last seven hundred years.
Elf 3: Hey, you’re preaching to the choir, Mrs. C.
Elf 4: Yeah, we know Santa has a system and it’s always worked.
Mrs. C: Well, I don’t know about a system.
Elf 1: You mean he doesn’t have a system?
Mrs. C: I really don’t know how he does it.
Elf 3: Oh, great. Now she doesn’t know anything.
Mrs. C: I…I didn’t say that boys.
Elf 4: Sorry, Mrs. C, but we’re under lots of pressure here.
Mrs. C: Yes, of course you are, boys.
Elf 1: Mrs. C, how does Santa come up with his Naughty and Nice Lists?
Mrs. C: I have never asked him that question.
(The phones start ringing like mad and the elves busy themselves answering more calls. Mrs. C shakes her head and slowly walks out of the room.)
(Santa is relaxing in front of the fireplace; his red-stocking feet are propped up on a candy cane ottoman. He is sipping hot cocoa and takes a deep breath.)
Santa: Ah, it feels good to take some time off at the end of each year. It was another excellent Christmas. Yes, indeed. I must give the elves a little bonus after the New Year before we start working on next year. I know; I’ll give them each a quart of vodka. That’ll keep them singing elfin tunes while they work.
(Mrs. Claus enters the room slowly and with trepidation)
Mrs. C: Oh, Kris, you’re awake.
Santa: (sipping cocoa) Oh, yes, dear. I am just daydreaming.
Mrs. C: Kris, you know I usually like to let you relax these days after Christmas.
Santa: Well, of course.
Mrs. C: And I never ever bother you to do anything, even change the light bulb over the entrance to the reindeer stalls. The elves can’t reach it, nor can I, but I don’t want to disturb you as you recover from your difficult journey.
Santa: Yes, well, it’s hard work being Santa Claus, my dear. Very hard work.
Mrs. C: Well, yes it is, Kris. Unfortunately, something has come up.
Santa: (putting down his cocoa) What seems to be the problem, Martha?
Mrs. C: Well, the truth is that the elves are getting millions of complaints.
Santa: Complaints? About what?
Mrs. C: It seems parents all over the world are questioning your Naughty and Nice Lists.
Santa: (sitting upright) Questioning my lists?
Mrs. C: Yes, dear. Or they want to know why their kids didn’t get bigger and better toys.
Santa: (struggling to stand and adjusting his suspenders) How dare they. I…I have been doing this for centuries now without having my authority questioned.
Mrs. C: And remarkably well, my dear.
Santa: (ambles over to his desk where a huge book is open under a lamp) I’ve compiled these lists with painstaking….
Mrs. C: Painstaking what, dear?
Santa: Well, I use my powers to see them when they’re sleeping. I know when they’re awake. I know if they’ve been….
Mrs. C: Everyone’s heard the song, dear.
Santa: (deep sigh) Well, yes, of course, with those stupid stations playing Christmas music since Labor Day.
Mrs. C: Could so many parents be wrong, Kris? Don’t they know their children better than you?
Santa: Well, maybe they think they know them, but I…I am the one that knows better. Well, they always used to be with me on this matter. Parents accepted the coal or the small plastic toy without griping.
Mrs. C: Yes, those were the days, dear.
Santa: They’re either with me or against me. And if they’re against me, well, then, I know some parents who aren’t getting what they want next year either.
Mrs. C: But, Kris, what do we do about all these calls and e-mails?
Santa: (Santa rubs his bearded chin, snaps his white-gloved fingers, and turns on the computer next to the big book). I have an idea, Martha. (He quickly runs his fingers over the keyboard). I am doing a search just now.
Mrs. C: What are you looking for, my dear?
Santa: I remember that the President of the USA said something….something I think I could use now, but I can’t remember what it was.
Mrs. C: Oh, he is the Great Communicator, right?
Santa: (looking up from the screen) No, that was Reagan. I’m afraid he is dead now.
Mrs. C: Then he couldn’t say anything.
Santa: No, it’s the current president, my sweet.
Mrs. C: Is he the one who said he never had relations with that woman?
Santa: No, my sweet, that was Clinton.
Mrs. C: Is he dead now too, dear?
Santa: Well, he almost was when his wife found out (a little chuckle).
Mrs. C: Oh, Kris.
Santa: Let’s just say he was on my Naughty List for quite some time.
Mrs. C: Well, is this president the one who said, “Read my lips,” dear?
Santa: No, that was his father.
Mrs. C: I must say I can’t keep track of the presidents very well.
Santa: The current president is W.
Mrs. C: Just a one letter name?
Santa: Well, I knew him as Georgie as a boy. Speaking of naughty lists….
(Santa claps his hands) I found it, dear. I found it.
Mrs. C: Oh, wonderful, Kris.
(Screen fades to black)
(The elves are all sitting at their computer terminals looking up at Santa Claus)
Santa: Okay, boys, you are going to type the following message. This is to be sent to all the parents who have complained and the ones who weren’t happy with the gifts their little darlings received. Understand?
Elves: Yes, Santa. (phone ringing)
ELf 1: (hand over headset) It’s a Mr. and Mrs. Martin from Teaneck, New Jersey.
Santa: Excellent! Listen to what I say to them and copy it to send to everyone else. Okay?
Elves: Yes, Santa.
Santa: Mr. and Mrs Martin, this is Santa.
Mr. Martin: How dare you leave coal for our little Billy and Sandy?
Mrs. Martin: They aren’t “naughty” kids, Santa.
Santa: Ho-ho-ho! I am sorry you do not like the way I handled the Naughty and Nice Lists this year. I understand you may want something different, but that cannot change what I have done. You see, I am the Decider. I decide what is right and wrong. I decide who is naughty and who is nice. Do you understand this? I decide, not you.
Mr. Martin: But that’s not…fair.
Santa: Was it fair when you were five years old, William Martin, and you stole your brother’s GI Joe?
Mr. Martin: Hey, well, that was….
Santa: You see, you parents didn’t decide then and you don’t decide now. I decide. I am the decider so I do the deciding. I know what I know and I do what I do and decide what I must. So, those kids who got coal this year got coal, and they and their parents are just going to have to live with it. The kids who received smaller toys than others, well they deserved that, too. You can explain it to them as I have to you. The decider has spoken. It’s out of your hands. I decide, not you.
Mrs. Martin: This…this is an outrage.
Santa: Well, Sylvia, if you don’t watch yourself, next year I won’t even think of bringing you that diamond bracelet. (A moment of silence) Very good, Happy New Year to you. Bye-bye!
Elf 1: Santa, that was amazing!
Santa: Yes, if I do say so myself. Just add “Warm regards, Kris Kringle, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”
Elf 2: Do you really think this is going to work with everyone, Santa?
Santa: If it worked for W, it will work for me. Now hit “send” boys and be lively about it. You have millions more letters to get out as soon a possible.
Mrs. C: Oh, Kris, you’re so handsome when you do your deciding.
Santa: (putting out his arm) Thank you, Martha. Now The Decider wants to take you to dinner. But this time, I’ll let you do the deciding.
Mrs. C: (takes his arm affectionately) How about that little place in Oslo?
Santa: Anything for you, dear. I will get the sleigh ready.
Mrs. C: And when we get back, do you think The Decider can change that light bulb by the reindeer stall?
Santa: Ho-ho-ho! Of course, my dear. Of course. Ho-ho-ho! (screen fades to black)